Maine wildlife officials are asking residents to take precautions to avoid unwanted confrontations with black bears.

A Carrabassett Valley homeowner took this photo Wednesday of a black bear on their porch on Baxter Street in Carrabassett Valley, Police Chief Mark Lopez said in March. Carrabassett Valley Police Department Facebook photo

The state has the largest population of black bears in the contiguous 48 states. Bears are awakening in the state, and they’re hungry, which means sometimes they enter residential areas looking for food in human garbage.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife said Monday that residents should secure their garbage and recycling, remove and store bird feeders and never leave pet food outdoors. Residents should also clean and store their grills, the department said.

There are typically hundreds of conflicts between bears and humans every year in Maine, the department said. They’re more likely when natural foods are scarce and humans leave food sources unsecured.

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