NORTH CAROLINA, USA — It feels like every day, someone else spots a bear in the Piedmont Triad. Wednesday was the latest sighting. A woman in High Point spotted a black bear in her neighborhood off Skeet Club Road, backing up to Highway 311. It's possible this bear could be the same one seen just 1.5 miles away last week, on the High Point/Kernersville border.
An expert from the North Carolina Zoo explained why we could be seeing more bears in populated areas.
Halley Buckanoff said bear populations have been on the rise in North Carolina for the last 50 years. She said bears typically roam around the area this time of year.
"It's not uncommon for us to see them," said Buckanoff, "[It happens when] young are emerging from the dens and as first-year bears are dispersing from their parents."
Buckanoff said more bear sightings can also be attributed to how many more cameras we have in our lives. Phones and doorbell cameras can easily snap a video or photo of a bear, even if it pops up for a few moments. These technologies didn't exist in the past.
While bear encounters can be exciting, Buckanoff wanted to remind folks that they should not approach them.
"If the bear's currently present, don't approach but notify your neighbors," said Buckanoff, "They don't need to let anybody know unless the bear is injured...or if there's a life-threatening situation."
Buckanoff shared some tips to avoid attracting bears to your neighborhood:
- Put away bird feeders.
- Make sure trash cans are secure.
- Clean off your grill.
- Feed pets indoors if possible.
There are many other tips for interaction with bears. North Carolina Wildlife has a handy guide as part of their BearWise Initiative.