Bear in Bucks County back yard generates photos, videos, excitement

Picture of a black bear spotted in Buckingham Township, Bucks County. Submitted to Action News by Kelley Fitzpatrick Simkiss on June 19th.
June 19, 2013 8:36:22 PM PDT
The call of the wild paid a visit to Bucks County Wednesday in the form of a bear in Buckingham Township.

The backyard of the Keeffe house is the place to be in the Windsor Square neighborhood in Furlong, Buckingham Township.

The kids obviously love it, and apparently so did a big ole black bear Kathleen Keeffe spotted hanging out on the roof of her children's playset Wednesday afternoon on Glenridge Road.

"I was screaming, 'Bear! Bear!" Like a crazy woman," she said.

Keeffe says a worker closed the gate to her backyard to trap the bear and called 911.

But this bear really became the center of attention when a dozen kids got off the bus from their last day of school.

"It was pure chaos," said Keeffe. "We have a lot of kids in this neighborhood, so it seems like they were coming from everywhere. But at the same time everyone was very cautious."

One mom captured cell phone video of the large animal. Keeffe's 10-year-old son couldn't wait to give a name!

"I thought I'm going to name him Freddie," said Bennett Keeffe. Freddie? Why freddie? "I don't know, I just felt like it," he replied.

Freddie stayed perched on that playset for about 10 minutes before sliding down.

Everyone thought he was contained. They were wrong. Freddie jumped the fence, causing a panic.

With that bear on the move, Keeffe did what any concerned mother would do. She ran out onto her porch and started yelling at the top of her lungs to warn the rest of her neighborhood.

"I can't help but wonder what would happen if he wouldn't have been in our backyard when the kids got off the bus," she said.

Police searched for the bear, which we could see has been tagged before. They couldn't find him.

But there are a few kids in this community who will most likely spend the rest of the summer looking for Freddie.

Asked what he thought the rest of the summer is going to be like, Bennett Keefe told me, "Nothing as good as this. Nothing as good as this."

FACEBOOK PHOTOS OF THE BEAR

Earlier Wednesday, another neighbor in the same development shared photos of the same bear with Action News.

There have been a number of bear sightings in our area recently, but those photos submitted may show the closest encounter yet.

On Wednesday afternoon, viewer Kelley Fitzpatrick Simkiss posted a series of photos on the Action News Facebook page from Buckingham Township, Bucks County.

The pictures showed a black bear perched on a playground set.

Simkiss said the bear was seen basking in the sun at 12:50 p.m. the intersection of Springtown Road and Winter Bridge Lane.

She said some kids were just getting out of school when she saw the bear.

Police tell Action News the bear left that yard, but was apparently spotted again about a mile away Swamp Road and Lower Mountain Road.

Officers are still searching for the bear.

OTHER BEAR SIGHTINGS

This is only the latest in a series of bear sightings around the region.

On Tuesday, Action News talked to the Kolb family in Mansfield, New Jersey, after they spotted a bear on their property.

In late May, a bear in a tree caused quite a stir in Delran, New Jersey. A number of people gathered around as the bear was removed from a tree.

Before that, Action News was in Bristol and Bensalem townships in Bucks County after a number of bear sightings in mid-May.

Wildlife officials have released the following safety tips if you ever encounter a black bear:

- Never feed or approach a bear
- Remain calm if you encounter a bear
- 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.


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