The Missouri Department of Conservation is warning the public to be “Bear Aware.” The American black bear has been growing in population here in Missouri, and with that growth, interaction with people becomes more likely.

The Department of Conservation encourages people to store or remove potential bear attractants from their property, including leftovers and other things. The department also warns people not to feed bears, as this can lead to dangerous situations when the bears are no longer afraid of humans.

Practical recommendations include keeping birdfeeders high and away from the ground, never leaving pet food outside, not burning or burying food waste, and using an electric fence to keep beehives, gardens, chicken coops and similar things safe.

Photo: Bruno the black bear is one of the many that have attracted public attention after traveling through Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri.