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Hungry black bears waking up, prowling for food

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Black bears are waking up from hibernation and they're hungry.

This has the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources warning residents in northern Minnesota to inspect their properties for possible food sources that may attract bears.

"The bears, when they emerge from their dens, they are hungry," Blane Klemek, the DNR's assistant northwest regional wildlife manager, told MPR News. "They do need to replenish those fat reserves quickly. In a spring like we're having right now when there's not a whole lot out there for them to eat, black bears are looking for any kind of food sources."

The DNR says bears may be tempted by dog food, livestock feed, birdseed, compost or garbage.

John Williams, DNR northwest regional wildlife manager, said in a news release that "When human-related food is easy to find, bears stop seeking their natural foods. ... These bears eventually get into trouble because they return again and again.”

Black bears aren't just prowling in northern Minnesota. The Pioneer Press reported a few black bear sightings in Inver Grove Heights on Friday and Saturday nights.

The DNR believes that it is the same bear and as long as the bear is left alone, it doesn't pose a threat to the public.

About 20,000 black bears live in Minnesota, with 3,000 hunted annually, the Pioneer Press says. Black bears tend to live in the northern third of the state, but will move south in search of food.

The DNR is reminding people not to approach bears, no matter how tame they may seem.

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