RALEIGH — Police officers were keeping an eye out Monday morning for a four-footed, overnight prowler, a bear seen roaming in the eastern end of the Five Points section of the city.
The bear was first seen in the 2100 block of Carroll Drive a little after midnight, Raleigh police spokeswoman Laura Hourigan said.
Police urged residents to be alert in case they see the bear and also to keep away from it.
The state Wildlife Resources Commission, which noted in April that spring is the season for young black bears to move away from their parents area and seek new range, and it urged people not to follow a bear or to get between the bear and a possible escape route.
It had not been determined if the Raleigh bear was a black bear, but bears have been seen in the Triangle in recent years, though the area remains officially listed as part of an unoccupied range that stretches from Johnston County west to Iredell, Catawba and Gaston counties.
Black bear sightings are becoming more common as the bear population increases and bears expand their home range, the commission said.
In addition to the juvenile bears looking for space, adult bears can roam extensively searching for food and mates, the agency said.
Sometimes when a bear is seen, crowds may gather. This seemingly harmless situation can become dangerous for both humans and bear, according to Ann May, the commissions extension wildlife biologist. But the best option is to stay away, not interfere and allow the bear to move out on its own.