SUSSEX - Residents in northern New Jersey have been put on alert after four bears were trapped in communities over the past two days.

Wildlife officials have set up traps in several communities with bear spottings.

The animals are sedated inside the traps so that officials can take measurements. They are then given another shot to wake them up and are released back into the wild.

In the process, they are shot with rubber pellets and chased by dogs into the woods.

Fish and Wildlife experts say bears venture into neighborhoods looking for food since they have trouble finding it in the wooded areas during the spring.

Residents who live near wooded areas are advised to use bear-resistant garbage cans. Residents should also not leave out bird feeders or pet food.

Experts say the bear population continues to increase, but periodic hunting seasons have helped control the population.