Bear sightings reported in Garner, Clayton: Here's what to do if you see one

Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Bear sightings reported in Garner, Clayton: Here's what to do if you see one
Bear sightings reported in Garner, Clayton: Here's what to do if you see one

GARNER, N.C. (WTVD) -- Residents are reporting bear sightings in Garner and Clayton.

Noah Brown, 18, of Garner, got footage of a black bear he saw June 14 near Ackerman Road and Bryan Road, about two miles from White Oak Crossing.

"We saw a big animal," Brown said. "We thought it was, like, a dog and then we thought it was, like, a wolf. We were like, 'Dang it's a bear,' so we slowed down to record it."

That same day, Aurora Zahourek said she was driving home from work when she saw a bear.

Bear on the beach: Cape Lookout biologist finds bear claw track in sand

"So excited and at the same time scared, as well, because my husband and my daughter, they walk a lot, every day, every morning, so I kind of wanted to warn the neighbors, as well, that they're around, just to be cautious," Zahourek said.

Clayton Police posted a warning on Facebook June 20 saying residents reported bear sightings along Lombard Street and Amelia Church Road.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Extension Wildlife biologist Falyn Owens said the bear sightings in our area could be tied to one wandering bear.

RELATED: Bear spotted near downtown Durham

"This time of year is when young bears that have been kind of kicked out of their mom's territory usually around 1 years old, are wandering around to find a territory of their own," Owens said. "Especially males, tend to wander a pretty long distance before they settle down in a territory and that's to help make sure that the gene pool stays diverse. They don't want to be mating with their close relatives."

If you know a bear has been spotted in your neighborhood, Owens said you should clean up food around your home, such as bird feeders and dog food, so bears don't want to stick around.

If you do see a bear:

"You would definitely not want to approach it any further and kind of back away slowly," Owens said. "You never want to run away from a bear but certainly you don't want any closer distance between you and the bear than necessary.

If the bear is in your yard or somewhere it's not supposed to be, Owens said you should be at a safe distance and make it uncomfortable so it'll want to leave the area.

"Be big, be scary, make a bunch of noise," Owens said. "Bears tend to be fairly skittish of people and usually they're going to want to get out of a situation if they've got a person that's making a bunch of noise."