Bears and Trash

A garbage can tipped over by a black bear in Ketchum looking for an easy meal.

With plants starting to break their long winter dormancy, wildlife will soon be doing the same. Black bears that live in south-central Idaho and other parts of the state are waking up—and they will be very hungry, according to Fish and Game officials.

After spending the winter months burning their fat reserves hibernating, black bears will immediately start looking for food, mostly spring grasses, but pretty much anything that can provide easy calories, Fish and Game’s Magic Valley Field Office said in a statement on Monday. During hibernation, boars (male) black bears usually lose 15-30% of their body weight, while sows with cubs can lose up to 40%. After emerging from hibernation, black bears are on a quest to eat between 15,000-20,000 calories a day to build up their fat reserves, which means they are constantly searching for food.

After leaving their winter dens, bears begin to search out food sources by using their extremely keen sense of smell. In fact, it is believed that a bear’s sense of smell is seven times better than a bloodhound’s and is often measured in miles.

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