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Midland Park

Another Black Bear Scare: Do You Know What To Do If You See A Bear?

06/23/2013 08:20PM ● By Anonymous

On Sunday evening, Ridgewood Police and the New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife captured a 130-pound yearling bear from a tree in Meadowbrook Avenue. It was the second such bear chase in a week. (Check out this Google Map of the bear sightings in the area this season we put together.)

According to a report in the bear was first seen in Paramus around 1am on Sunday.  around 10am, the bear was spotted in Ridgewood, when police had "enough daylight and manpower to corral the bear toward the community garden" on Meadowbrook Avenue. According to Ridgewood Patch, the bear was captured around 5pm Sunday.

The first bear sightings of the season came on Tuesday (June 18), when a Wyckoff resident reported a bear walking down a side street off of Ravine Avenue in mid-morning.  "Twenty-one years in Wyckoff and this is a first for me," said Lynn Bruggemann, the Midland Park Correspondent for the Suburban News Correspondent who spotted the bear and snapped a few pictures of it.

The bear — or another one like it — was next spotted around 2pm on Hempstead Road, according to Ridgewood Patch. Children in the nearby schools were kept inside as a precaution. The 125-pound yearling climbed up a tree on Bellair Road, where police kept an eye on it until Fish and Wildlife could tranquilize and transport it to a remote area.

(Here's a Google Map of the bear sightings in the area.)

Reading Bear Behavior

According to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife black bears, by nature, tend to be wary of humans and avoid people. If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It is usually not a threatening behavior.

However, If the bear utters a series of huffs, makes popping jaw sounds by snapping its jaws and/or swats the ground, take warning. This is the bear's way of saying you are too close. Slowly back away from the bear, do not make eye contact and do not run away.

Black bears will sometimes "bluff charge" when cornered, threatened or attempting to steal food. The Fish and Wildlife Division advises to stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then slowly back away and do not run.

Safety Tips

If you encounter a bear, the Fish and Wildlife Division recommends the following safety tips:

  • Remain calm. Do not run. Instead, slowly back away.
  • Avoid direct eye contact, which the bear may perceive as a challenge.
  • Make your presence known by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands, whistling or making other noises.
  • Scare a bear away by making loud noises, yelling, banging pots and pans or using an airhorn.
  • Ensure the bear has an escape route.
  • Make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your head.
  • Never feed or approach a bear!

For more tips on bear safety, download, print out and post this hand-out on black bear safety from the NJ Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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