A small black bear has been seen roaming Main Street in Lawrenceville. The bear was last spotted at the PNC Bank at 2481 Main Street. Police have cautioned residents not approach the bear.
Black bears are the largest land mammal in New Jersey. Since the 1980s, the state’s black bear population has been increasing and expanding its range southward and eastward from the forested areas of northwestern New Jersey. There have been confirmed bear sightings in all 21 of New Jersey’s counties.
If you encounter a black bear in your neighborhood, the state Division of Fish and Wildlife recommends that you follow these safety tips:
– Never feed or approach a bear.
-Remain calm if you encounter a bear. Do not run from it.
– Make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands, or making other noises.
– Make sure the bear has an escape route.
– Avoid direct eye contact, which may be perceived by a bear as a challenge. Never run from a bear. Instead, slowly back away.
– To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, banging pots and pans or using an airhorn. Make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your head.
– The bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping jaw sounds by snapping its jaws and swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away, avoid direct eye contact and do not run.
– If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It is usually not a threatening behavior.
– Black bears will sometimes “bluff charge” when cornered, threatened or attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then slowly back away and do not run.
– If the bear does not leave, move to a secure area.
Report black bear damage or nuisance behavior to the DEP’s 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1-877-WARN DEP (1-877-927-6337).