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Ramapo Mountain State Forest Reopens After Black Bear Concerns

MAHWAH, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Ramapo Mountain State Forest and the Ramapo Valley Reservation have been reopened after reports of black bears acting aggressively towards visitors.

The forest was closed to hikers after eight people were chased by a black bear two weeks ago.

Three other hikers reported being pursued by black bears, but escaped unharmed. One hiker said a bear repeatedly approached and swatted at him, forcing him to use pepper spray to defend himself.

State wildlife officials say four black bears have been captured and killed. They also believe they captured and killed the bear that attempted to chase the hikers.

Officials are investigating whether human interaction, such as intentionally feeding the bears, played a role in the unusual aggression.

New Jersey Director of Fish and Wildlife David Chanda told WCBS 880 last week that feeding the bears is not only dangerous, but illegal. Violators will be hit with fines up to $1000.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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