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El Nino Helped Keep Nevada Bears From Urban Areas

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada wildlife officials have reported fewer bears roaming around the state's urban areas this year, which they say is likely because of weather conditions from El Nino.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports Nevada Department of Wildlife says five bears were struck by cars in 2016, compared to 19 last year and 18 in 2014. The agency has also handled only 48 bears this year, down from 114 last year and 140 two years ago.

Officials say the decreased bear activity is likely because of El Nino, which delivered a slightly above average amount of snowfall to the Sierra Nevada. More snow means more natural sources of food and water are available in the mountains.

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Bear activity will likely increase this fall, as the animals seek out ripening fruit in backyards.