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Another bear sighting in St. Mary Parish - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Another bear sighting in St. Mary Parish

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A bear is seen in a residential neighborhood in Patterson / Courtesy: Dwayne Scott A bear is seen in a residential neighborhood in Patterson / Courtesy: Dwayne Scott
PATTERSON, La. -

A viewer-submitted photo shows a bear wandering around a residential neighborhood in Patterson. 

In November, St. Mary Parish residents were reminded to "bear-proof" their trash cans. This means locking your trash cans.

As of last month, Patterson residents will no longer get a warning from police for leaving bear-proof trash cans unlocked.

The city council voted to fine residents $50 on the first offense and up to $1,000 for subsequent violations.

City officials say they are making the penalties stiffer because bears have been getting into unlocked trash cans to look for food, dumping garbage into local yards and streets in the process.

The bear encounters are becoming more frequent as coastal erosion pushes wildlife further north.

Catherine Siracusa, St. Mary Parish Bear Conflict Manager, said, "In our area, we are all vying, we're all looking to live on the same good plots of land . . . We have laws. We have steps we have to go about to make sure that we all live together happily."

Living together happily with bears means you shouldn't leave food out for them, which is why wildlife agents say locking your trash cans is so important.

Siracusa explained, "If he comes in a neighborhood, and he gets into a garbage can, knocks the garbage can over, that's a reward. So, they quickly become food conditioned. And if garbage is accessible, they're going to be there . . . It's a safety issue. We don't want residents to walk out to their garbage can and encounter a bear at their garbage can."

This particular bear sighting happened not even as week after a bear was seen along Highway 90 in Berwick.  

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