A black bear was spotted in the Deerbourne neighborhood in South Richmond.
The bear was spotted around Glenan Drive, near the intersection of Hopkins and Warwick Roads, according to neighbors. The bear was lumbering in the woods, bordering the street, a witness said.
Police are warning neighbors to watch out for black bears. Officers passed out flyers, letting people know what to do if they come face to face with a wild bear. Police found tracks, but didn't locate the bear.
"We're supposed to call animal control, but my first instinct would probably be to get into the house as soon as possible," said Christi Munford, who lives in the neighborhood and was shocked to hear the warning from police. "Not around here, and I've lived here all my life. I was born and raised in this area, and never…"
"I feel scared because I got a family," said Carlos Silva, who lives across the street from where the bear was spotted.
Wildlife experts from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries say it's not uncommon for bears to find their way into residential neighborhoods, many times by following water sources like the James River or nearby creeks.
Officials say black bears often show up in Richmond, especially in the spring. Mama bears often detach from their yearling cubs this time of year. Food is also scarce in the spring. Bears will search garbage cans, bird feeders and dog food dishes. Still, a bear spotting in the city comes as a surprise to many.
"I've never heard about bears...I was just telling my daughter, ‘What is a bear doing out here?'" laughed Sayeed Shabazz, who also lives in the neighborhood.
Officials warn that if you encounter a bear, leave it alone and call police or animal control. Bears are naturally shy of people, and are likely just looking for food. Wildlife experts say more bear sightings should be occurring in the upcoming weeks.
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