Bears Spotted in Northern Virginia

Police: residents should not panic

By Kelvin Robinson
|  Friday, Jun 10, 2011  |  Updated 2:56 PM EDT
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Bears Spotted in Northern Virginia

NBC New York

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Police in Fairfax County said they’ve received their first seasonal report of bear sightings Thursday morning.

The first calls about a medium-sized black bear came in around 6:30 a.m. near Holly Briar Lane in Great Falls, Va.

Authorities say there were more calls about a bear Friday morning near Bennington Woods Road, Stowe Road and a walking trail near Autumn Wood Drive.

While the sight of a bear may be startling, animal control officers say it is not unusual to see one this time of year. They say residents should not panic or feel alarmed because black bears have a natural fear of humans and typically try to avoid them.

Authorities say the bears will come into neighborhoods in search of food, and typically leave when they don’t find any. Unless the bear is sick or injured, or poses a threat to public safety, animal control officers will not typically remove the bear.

There are a few things that you can do to make sure you don’t attract bears to your yard:

  • Don’t store trash on porches, decks or in vehicles
  • If there is a bear sighting in your neighborhood, remove birdfeeders from your yard
  • Take garbage to the curb on the morning of pickup, rather than the night before
  • Consider installing electric fencing around your gardens, dumpsters and other potential wildlife sources

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