OSWEGO, NY — Oct 13, 2016
It’s a relief for SUNY Oswego students to get a day off from classes, but yesterday’s break in honor of Yom Kippur may have allowed them to avoid something besides their professors. On Wednesday morning, the college issued an alert that a black bear had been sighted on Route 104 by the college’s main entrance.
The University Police said the bear posed no immediate threat, though students and staff were advised to keep their distance and contact university police in the event of another sighting.
Although the sighting may have surprised students, these incidents are not unique to Oswego. Black bears have been a common sight across Oswego County over the past few months, with several seen in July alone. Bear sightings have increased across upstate NY, with some towns reporting over three times as many than usual.
Though the actual cause of this increase in sightings is unknown, black bears are not uncommon in upstate NY. Oswego may fall outside of their primary range, but that does not rule out the occasional sighting: according to the Department of Environmental Conservation, 10-15 percent of the state’s population of 6,000-8,000 black bears live in the central-western region of NY
Even with the increase, the odds of an actual attack remain extremely low. Black bears are responsible for the deaths of less than one person per year across North America.
For more information on what to do in the case of a bear encounter, visit the Oswego State University Police Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Oswego-State-University-Police-90985222236/.