- A poor acorn crop at high elevations has
resulted in a spike in bear sightings in valley locations such as
Asheville, and experts say residents can expect that to continue through
fall and into winter.
Wednesday was a sighting at Asheville High School, which caused
officials to place the school briefly on lockdown. A bear also was
spotted on Wamboldt Avenue in West Asheville, and a bear cub was hit by a car on Interstate 26 south of Asheville.
had lots of bear calls," said Mike Carraway, a biologist with the N.C.
Wildlife Resources Commission who works in Western North Carolina.
"We've seen an increase in the last month and especially in the last
migrating into valley locations because of more plentiful food as they
seek to fatten up before winter hibernation. Carraway attributed the
poor mast crop in the high mountains to excessive rain. Even in valley
sites, some oak varieties produced few acorns because of the damp
a lack of natural food sources up in the mountains, particularly
acorns," Carraway said. "But in the lower elevations we have quite a few
acorns, especially white oak acorns. We expect to see a lot of bear
activity in residential areas this fall. I would just remind people to
remove food sources and trash."
While searching for acorns, bears also will feed on just about anything else they can find, often from human sources.