Recent reports of bears in backyards suggest officials are reminding residents of the North Carolina capital to be bear safe in their homes and to exercise safety if they encounter a bear.
According to police, bears have been spotted in two different locations in Raleigh this week. The first bear sighting took place on Monday morning near Lead Mine Road. The second sighting was on Thursday afternoon near Lassiter Mill Road. In both cases, no injuries were reported and the bear returned to the forest with no problem.
Bears are the largest wild mammal in North Carolina. It can be both exciting and baffling to see one around you or at home.
North Carolina Wildlife officials offer these tips to help keep your home bear-proof:
Never feed or approach bears: Deliberately feeding bears or allowing them to find something that smells or tastes like food teaches bears to approach homes and people looking for more. Bears will defend themselves if a person gets too close, so don’t risk your and their safety!
Safe food, garbage and recycling: Food and food smells attract bears. So don’t reward them with readily available food, liquids, or trash.
Remove birdhouses when bears are active: Bird food and grains are high in calories, so they are very attractive to bears. Removing feeders is the best way to avoid conflict with bears.
Never leave pet food outside: If possible, feed pets indoors. If you need to feed pets outdoors, feed them single servings and remove food and bowls after feeding. Keep pet food where bears cannot see or smell it.
Cleaning and storing grills: Clean the grills after each use and make sure that all grease, grease and food residues are removed. Keep clean grills and smokers in a safe place that will keep bears out.
Make neighbors aware of activity: Do you see bears in the area or evidence of bear activity? Let your neighbors know and share information on how to avoid bear conflicts. Bears have got used to living around people. Now it’s up to us to adapt to life around bears.
Black bears tend to be shy and not aggressive towards people. If you spot a bear nearby, officials advise remaining calm and avoiding approaching, surrounding, or cornering the bear. When you’re close enough to the bear to notice a change in its natural behavior, slowly withdraw. Once you are a safe distance away, officials say a lot of noise will scare the bear off.
Bear sightings should be reported to your local police station. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will not normally catch and relocate bears unless human safety is compromised.