More Black Bears Spotted in Northern Virginia

NBC Connecticut

More black bears have been sighted in Fairfax County officials say. 

Two small black bears were seen Wednesday morning crossing Oakton Road in Oakton, Virginia, and a bear and cub were spotted Thursday morning on the 2700 block of Bowling Green Drive in Vienna, Virginia, Fairfax County officials said. 

The bears in Vienna nabbed a bird-feeder and took a bag of birdseed before they fled along I-66. 

These two sightings add to a sighting Sunday of a bear and cub. 

Bears typically avoid humans unless they’re on the hunt for food. They are attracted to bird feeders, garbage, outdoor pet food, compost piles, fruit trees and berry-producing shrubs.

Bear encounters can be resolved almost immediately by removing the food source, officials said. They may come back searching for food, but they will stop returning after a few failed attempts.

The Fairfax County Wildlife Management Specialist and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries suggest residents take these precautions to minimize encounters with black bears:

• Keep a respectful distance from the bear. It will move on quickly in most instances.

• Give the bear space and do not approach it if it is up a tree or near your property. Bring your pets inside to give the bear a clear path to leave.

• Do not try to remove or “save” a small cub from an area.

• Remove food sources to discourage the bear from returning.

• Do not store trash or anything that smells like food in cars or on porches or decks.

• Make sure to keep your trash containers secured in a garage, shed or basement.

• Take your trash out in the morning if you use a trash collection service, not the night before.

• If you have a bird-feeder and a bear visits, take down your bird-feeder for 3 to 4 weeks.

• Encourage your neighbors to take similar precautions to minimize bears.

• Note that Animal Control Officers do not take actions to attempt to remove bears from a neighborhood unless the animal is sick or injured, or poses a threat to public safety.

If you do see a bear, report it to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries through the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline at 855-571-9003.

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