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Black Bear Seen on Herrontown Road, Autumn Hill Preserve

A young bear stealing a resident's trash in Kingston in June.
A young bear stealing a resident’s trash in Kingston in June.

A resident who lives on Herrontown Road had a visit Monday morning from a young bear that has been roaming around the Princeton are the last few days.

“The young black bear was just sniffing our picture window, looked in our shed, and headed into the Autumn Hill Preserve,” wrote the resident.

On Saturday, the bear was seen in the area of Clearview Avenue and Tee-Ar Place. Black bears have also been spotted on Kingston, Lawrence and surrounding towns

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).

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • PrincetonResident

    Is anyone trying to find the bear and move it to a different part of NJ? A bear wandering around in our residential neighborhoods is a tragedy waiting to happen. It sounds like our government officials should be taking this risk more seriously.

  • Cecie

    This shows how wild the summit of Mount Lucas still is–a haven for so many species, and a rare remnant of a lost New Jersey. Too bad about all the McMansions that developers want to put there soon. Sorry, bear.

  • Joe

    I really, really hope I never encounter a bear on the D&R tow path. Not too many escape routes unless you’re prepared to jump in the filthy canal or putrid Lake Carnegie.

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