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First responders in Whitman and Hanson on Tuesday urged residents in the towns to take measures to protect themselves after a black bear was seen wandering in the area over the past few weeks, officials said.

The bear, which officials believe is between 2 and 3 years old, is being referred to as “Boo Boo” and has been seen roaming in Bristol County and Plymouth County since mid-May, Hanson Police Chief Michael Miksch, Whitman Police Chief Timothy Hanlon, and Whitman Fire Chief Timothy Grenno said in a joint statement.

The most recent sightings of the bear have been in Hanson, including several in the town’s Birchbark area near the border with Rockland and Hanover since late last week, the statement said. Boo Boo’ was last spotted yesterday afternoon, a Hanson police spokesman said.

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“It is somewhat uncommon for bears to be seen in this part of the state, but residents should know how to behave around them and how to prevent them from becoming more comfortable in the area,” Miksch said. “Bears will become accustomed to living among humans if they think there are reliable food sources available, which often result from unsecured bird feeders, trash and compost bins, and pet food. There are many easy steps people can take to avoid attracting bears to their neighborhood.”

The statement advises residents not to set out bird feeders, to secure their trash, remove items that could attract bears, protect their crops and orchards, and to “make lots of noise” if they encounter the bear.




Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.