Bear sightings up in Richmond - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Bear sightings up in Richmond

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Many of you have called us and posted on our Facebook page that you've seen bears going through your neighborhood. Wildlife officials say bears are moving into neighborhoods all over Virginia looking for food.

Bob Ellis is with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. He says his department gets a dozen calls every day about bears.

"The bears are usually shy and will remain shy and stay away from people," Ellis said. "You don't want to go out there and antagonize the situation and go after the bear."

Ellis says these are mostly young adolescent bears -- out on the prowl for the very first time. They're wandering into places populated by people while searching for food.

"It's also breeding season," he said. "There's a lot of them out there looking for love and they usually find it in the wrong places."

One of the reasons why more people may be seeing bears in their neighborhoods is urban sprawl. There are new subdivisions appearing in places like in Short Pump that are invading what used to be bear country.

Wildlife officials say bears love to eat out of bird feeders or the trash. Your best bet is to remove any possible source of food if you spot a bear and it will probably move on. If you see a bear and it's not bothering anyone - Game and Inland Fisheries says you don't need to report it.

"If it's just moving through, enjoy it," Ellis said. "We don't need to know about it. We know they're out there."

Game and Inland Fisheries only traps bears that are a nuisance and break into the same homes several times.

They say there's nowhere to relocate these bears anymore so if it's trapped - it's usually euthanized. 

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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