Spike in bear sightings stirs up debate

Bear spotted on I-485

UNION COUNTY, N.C. -- It's no Loch Ness Monster or Unicorn but the young black bear roaming through Union County is causing a stir.

First spotted in Waxhaw, officials believe that same bear traveled to Matthews, where the police department received calls that the bear was spotted just a mile away from downtown Matthews.

"It's very uncommon," says Officer Kyle Young with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

"Typically they're just passing through," said Young of the bear's unusual proximity to the city of Charlotte.

While the animal has kept it's distance and caused no reported problems, folks on social media have asked why officials won't tranquilize and relocate the bear.

Young says it would likely only cause more problems and the bear could return to the same locations it's already visited.

"The best solution is to give the bear space," added Young.

Tim Aycock and the Matthews Police Department posted a picture of the bear on Facebook, one that went viral.

In the post, the department asked the public to not report the bear sighting.

"There is no need to call us unless you see that the bear is hurt or the bear is a current threat to someone," said Aycock.

Aycock reiterated Young's "keep your distance" stance and don't get any ideas when it comes to creative social media posts.

"I definitely wouldn't try to get a bear hug or anything like that. I know the thing these days is to get a selfie but I wouldn't advise that."

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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