Black Bear Spotted in Clifton Area

First bear sighting of 2009 in Fairfax County

CLIFTON, Va. -- Fairfax County is home to 1 million people and at least one black bear.

Residents in the Clifton area spotted a young black bear roaming through some backyards Monday morning, Fairfax County police said. It was the first black bear sighting in the county this year.

The Union Hill Elementary School community received an e-mail from the school about the bear sighting.

The bear was last seen running near Battle Rock Drive and Marblestone Drive.

It is not unusual to see black bears in some parts of the county, according to animal control.

Black bears typically avoid contact with humans, authorities said. Keeping trash secure is the best way to keep bears and other unwanted wildlife away.

Animal control officers do not attempt to remove bears from neighborhoods unless they are considered a threat to public safety or appear to be sick or injured, police said. Bears usually move along once they fail to find food, which they will if residents keep their trash secure and take down their birdfeeders.

In Virginia, the bear population has grown by an estimated 37 percent since 2001.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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