Black bear sightings on the rise in Pulaski County

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PULASKI (WSLS 10) - Pulaski County is getting dozens of unwanted visitors of the four-legged variety.

So far this year, there have been 39 reported black bear sightings, compared to only eight last year. It's the largest number in the last decade for Pulaski County.

Wildlife experts said this does not necessarily mean the bear population is increasing, because they often get multiple calls about the same bear. They also implemented a wildlife helpline in 2013, which they credit for increased reporting.

However, the state is partnering with Pulaski County to offer bear-proof trash cans to residents for about half the regular price. 87 percent of the reported sightings this year in Pulaski County were trash related.

"It's easily addressed. People shouldn't be afraid," said Pulaski County assistant administrator Anthony Akers. "It's something to easily address through education."

Wildlife experts also recommended bringing pet food and bird feeders inside during months when bears are active.