West End family captures roaming bear in bird feeder - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

West End family captures roaming bear in bird feeder

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A bear who was making himself at home in Short Pump was spotted again Tuesday morning in the Gayton Forest neighborhood.

The Bremer family shared their video of the animal destroying the bird feeder. 

Click here to watch the video on YouTube: http://bit.ly/1cNuIzR

Now, wildlife officials fear the bear is becoming domesticated.

People suspect the bear is to blame for destroying a number of bird feeders in the neighborhood. Seven-year-old William Bremer shot video of the bear doing just that, as his family watched the unlikely visitor from a bedroom window.

"It was on its hind legs. It bent our bird feeder," he said.

"The bear saw me, saw the neighbor, then it just took off at a full sprint to the woods," says William's father, Jon.

Cary Hintz says the animal was also in her yard and bent the metal on her bird feeder while trying to get the seeds.

"This showed me how really, really strong he is," she said.

It turns out the bear is a frequent visitor. Neighbors reported another sighting while NBC12 camera crews were on the scene.

Wildlife officials have been keeping track of the sightings.  They say bears normally move on, but easy access to food is keeping him here and that's not a good thing. They say a domesticated bear could become a danger. The Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries is now working with Henrico Animal Control to see if more steps need to be taken.

"Trapping the bear, tranquilizing the bear are options if the bear doesn't move on," says David Whitehurst with the DGIF.

While it's a serious subject, people living here are having fun with the unlikely visitor.  You can find him on Twitter at @WestEndBear. The Bremer children say he should have a name. William likes the name Cheddar.

Whatever you decide to call him, wildlife officials say people need to stop giving him a reason to stay. The simplest thing you can do is make sure all food is no longer outside until this bear decides to move out of the neighborhood.

If you see the bear you should call Henrico's non emergency line at 501-5000 or VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries at 367-1000.  It is illegal to feed a bear, even inadvertently.

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