A momma bear and her three baby cubs had to be euthanized in the Adirondacks after breaking into a camp in Old Forge, New York.

The black bears have been seen numerous times at various places around Old Forge over the last few weeks. They even spent part of a day in a tree at Enchanted Forest Water Safari before entering a camp on the grounds, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The bear's behavior showed "habituation to human presence that causes a clear threat to human safety" and forced the DEC to take action.

The bears then entered an occupied camp on Hollister Road in Old Forge, about half a mile south of the Old Forge Camping Resort, according to Town of Webb Tourism Director Mike Farmer. DEC officers and Town of Webb police were called and euthanized all four bears.

DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers humanely euthanized a sow and three juvenile bears after they repeatedly demonstrated behavior that was a danger to public safety. The animal’s status changed to Class 1as designated by DEC’s Black Bear Response Manual and officers made the decision to humanely euthanize the animals to protect public safety.

Credit - Life in the ADK via Facebook
Credit - Life in the ADK via Facebook

Stop Feeding Bears!

Michele from Life in the ADK had the bear and her cubs in her backyard, which was clear of all trash, food, and birdfeeders. But that doesn't stop others from leaving food out. "I hear on a daily basis of how people who are camping or just out and about and see other campers bait the bear with marshmallows and other food so they can take pictures with the bear and the cubs."

Credit - Life in the ADK via Facebook
Credit - Life in the ADK via Facebook

Intentionally Feeding Bears is Illegal

Intentionally feeding bears, especially to take pictures, is not only stupid but also illegal and creates human-bear conflicts, which results in the DEC being forced to euthanize the animals.

So STOP FEEDING THE BEARS. A fed bear is a dead bear. "We have to do our best to keep them safe," said Michele.

Bears in New York

There are a minimum of 6,000 to 8,000 bears in New York State, according to the DEC. Everyone is being reminded to limit man-made, food sources to reduce bear conflicts. Take down your bird feeders, keep pet food indoors, and lock up trash containers. Bears learn from experience. So, if they find food, they will be back.

The DEC has tips on how to keep bears away from your property and what to do if you encounter one.

To Avoid Bears Coming Onto Your Property:

  • Clean your grill by turning it on high for several minutes after you are done cooking to burn residual odors.
  • Lock up your trash. Bears love garbage. Keep all trash in sealed cans inside a building like a garage or shed. Anything with an odor can attract a bear.
  • Do not feed your pets outside. Leftover food or even an empty dish can attract a bear.
  • Do not have refrigerators or freezers outside or on porches. Bears can smell what is inside.


  • Use noise to scare bears away: Yell, clap, or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear.
  • Stay calm: Walk slowly and speak in a loud and calm voice.
  • Leave slowly: Cautiously back away from the bear and leave the area.


  • Approach, surround, or corner a bear: Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened. Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective.
  • Run from a bear: They may chase.
  • Throw your backpack or food bag at an approaching bear: This will only encourage bears to approach and "bully" people to get food. By teaching a bear to approach humans for food, you are endangering yourself, other campers/residents, and the bears.
  • If a bear approaches you: Raise your arms and speak in a loud, calm voice while backing away.
  • If a bear charges you: Stand your ground.
  • If a bear makes contact with you: Fight back with anything at hand (knife, stick, rocks, or fists).

If You're Camping:

  • Throw out all your trash and recyclables.
  • Lock up your coolers and food. Store food in either the trunk of your car or in the cab of your truck. Keep windows shut and food and coolers out of sight.
  • NEVER keep food, coolers, or scented items in your tent.
  • Treat all toiletries as food items. Toiletry products are heavily scented and are as attractive to bears as actual food.
  • Clean up after all meals immediately. Keep grills, pots, pans, cooking utensils, and washbasins clean when not in use.
  • Do not put grease, garbage, plastic diapers, cans, bottles, or other refuse into the fireplace. These items do not properly burn and will attract bears with their odors.
  • Always remember when exploring the wilderness - you're in their home. Be vigilant and stay safe.

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