Carrboro police respond to bear sightings

From staff reportsJune 27, 2013 

— The Carrboro Police Department has responded to three reports of bear sightings in the last two days.

The first two sightings occurred Wednesday in the areas of Pine Street near Oak Street and Oak Avenue near East Poplar Avenue.

A bear was spotted Thursday in the area of Smith Level Road near BPW Club Road.

People are encouraged to avoid interacting with the bear. In general, bears will leave a populated area if left alone. Call 911 if you are concerned that the bear may pose a hazard.

Scientists and area police agree that bear sightings in more urban parts of the Triangle remain rare. But they may be happening a little more than in years past because of thriving bear populations, said Michael Stoskopf, a professor at N.C. State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Male bears leaving their mothers’ dens can travel great distances to find a new home. They may bump into urban areas as they follow natural land formations such as rivers and lakes, said Ann May, a wildlife biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The risk to the public is low, she said.

The following tips come from the North Carolina Wildlife Commission website.

• If you see a bear:

• Keep your distance from the bear.

• Do not feed the bear or leave food sources outside your home that may attract the bear.

• Bears climb trees if they feel threatened. If you see a bear in a tree, leave the area and the bear will come down when it no longer feels threatened.

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