WATERFORD, N.J. (WPVI) --A Waterford Police officer shot video this morning of the black bear as it sauntered through a neighborhood. And as the cop followed, the bear then ran into the Wharton State Forest.
The bear has been seen several times in Atco.
Jenn Jennings captured a photo of the bear on the 2200 block of Dayton. She says, "He looked like he was just moseying around looking for something to eat. He went off across the street and he was ripping up an old log."
Waterford Township Police say the bear hasn't threatened anyone and appears to be simply looking for food. Still, they want residents to be aware.
Chief Dan Cormaney says, "We did notify the schools to make them aware of the situation. There was never any lockdown or anything in place. It was never a threat to any of the residents. All of the kids were in school at the time."
Word has spread fast about Atco's newest neighbor. Bear sighting have happened before, but residents say it seems with more frequency now.
On Wednesday there were two bear sightings in nearby Winslow Township. The first sighting happened in the morning along Wharton Avenue in the Elm section of the township, and the second in the Waterford Works section Wednesday afternoon.
Authorities do not believe the bear seen in Waterford Township is the same animal spotted in Winslow. One has a white patch on its head.
If you encounter a bear you are asked to immediately notify police or the Division of Fish and Wildlife by dialing (877) 927-6337.
Police are asking residents to take steps to avoid attracting bears, and have supplied the following tips from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife:
- Store all you garbage in containers with tight fitting lids and place them along the inside walls of your garage or in the basement, sturdy shed or other secure area.
- Wash garbage containers with disinfectant solution regularly to remove odors.
- Put out garbage on collection day, not he night before.
- Clean outdoor grills and utensils thoroughly after each use and store grills securely.
- Do not place meat or any sweet foods in compost piles.
- Avoid feeding birds in an area frequented by bears.
- Pick up fruit or nuts that fall from trees and discard it in garbage containers with tight fitting lids.
What do you do if you encounter a bear?
- DO NOT FEED the BEAR!
- Remain calm and make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in a calm, assertive voice.
- Make sure that the bear has an escape route
- Yell, bang pots and pans or use an air horn to scare away the bear. 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 sounds by snapping its jaws and swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. slowly back away and avoid direct eye contact.
- 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 not usually a threatening behavior.
- Black bears will sometimes bluff charge when cornered, threatened or attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact and then slowly back away. DO NOT RUN!!!
- If the bear will not leave, head for nearby shelter. Remember that the black bear attacks are extremely rare. If a black bear does attack, FIGHT BACK!!!
Some additional bear facts. did you know?
- Black bears are usually solitary animals that are most active at dawn and dusk.
- Black bears have excellent senses of smell and hearing.
- Black bears can run up to 35 mph. they are strong swimmers and excellent climbers.
- Black bears eat both plants and animals.
- Adult females average 175 pounds; adult males average 400 pounds.
- Not all black bears are black. They can be brown, cinnamon, blonde, white and even gray-blue. Fifteen percent of New Jersey's bears have a white chest blaze.
- Breeding season runs from late May until August, peaking June and July. Cubs are born in January and weigh about 8 ounces to 16 ounces. The average litter size is three. Cubs remain with the female until she breeds again 16 months to 18 months later.