While it is common in the area to see wildlife such as dear, raccoons and rabbits, a black bear sighting still causes quite a stir. James Tomberlin, the district 7 wildlife biologist with the NC Wildlife Commission, said that this time of year bear sightings tend to increase.
“We’ve had a spike in bear activity in this part of the state,” Tomberlin said. “It’s not uncommon this particular time of year and in most of those cases it involves young males making their dispersal movements. Mom has pushed them out, so to speak, and they’re forced to find their own territory.”
Near waterways, such as large creeks or the Yadkin River, are typical areas where a bear might be spotted. The bears will cover quite a bit of ground as they search out a new home, Tomberlin said. As food sources in wooded areas are scarce in early spring and summer, the bears are also on the lookout for a free meal. Tomberlin recommended moving pet food indoors to keep from attracting bear activity too close to a home. Compost piles are also a draw for bears and keeping those in some of type of enclosed container can keep bears from coming too close to residential areas.
“The best thing to do is leave the bear alone, don’t approach it, certainly don’t feed it,” Tomberlin said. “If they find a free meal they’re more likely to stay. The best case scenario is that they’re left alone and allowed to move on through.”
Tomberlin said black bears are not typically aggressive, but certainly would act defensively if approached by another animal, such as a dog. He recommended bringing pets indoors, especially at night and keeping dogs on a leash when outside to avoid any confrontations.
For more information on black bears, visit the NC Wildlife Commission page at http://www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Species/Mammals/BlackBear.aspx
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.