Asian black bear spotted foraging for food in Garner, Hookey-Varina

In “Bear Minimum,” at least one bear has invaded Wake County, roaming near homes and walking in yards.

WRAL News obtained video of a black bear visiting a home in Hookey Varina and Garner on Friday.

Ryan Reich posted a video of the bear sniffing his front yard around 4:30 am. CCTV footage showed the bear searching the passage leading to Garner’s front porch. No damage was done by bears.

“What a beautiful creature, what a rare sight!” said Reich.

Meanwhile, in Hookee, Varina, Jacob Jones filmed a video of a bear hanging out near his home. This bear was sniffing around the trash cans, probably looking for food.

Jones said the video could serve as a lesson for neighbors to take out the trash regularly and ensure outdoor food around trash cans and recycling bins.

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It is unclear if the same bear is shown in the video.

Wildlife biologist Greg Butts said sightings of black bears are common this time of year, but it’s possible the bears are out on their own for the first time and looking for a new home to call home. In this case, the bear is most likely a young male bear released by its mother. It is held every year around Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers.

“What’s happening is that the mother doesn’t want inbreeding, so she’s telling us to get out of here,” Butts said. “They don’t want to breed with their sisters or mothers.”

They are not usually aggressive, but it is important to be careful not to feed them if you encounter them.

“Never feed or approach bears, and give them plenty of room,” Batts said.

Please let your neighbors know as well.

“They will migrate through major streams and creeks because that’s where it’s the quietest,” Batts said. “Because they are animals that prefer places with less noise, such as barking dogs and lots of cars, so you can often see them moving through these corridors.”

Butts estimates that North Carolina may have about 20,000 bears, many of which are concentrated in the coastal plains and mountains.

In the summer of 2021, a bear became a local celebrity of sorts after climbing a tree near the UNC REX hospital off the Lake Boone Trail. The bear was stuck there for several hours. Wildlife experts soothed the bears with donuts and sardines.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission requires that if you see a bear, or think there is a bear den, leave the area and leave the den undisturbed for the rest of the winter. Call the NC Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401 if you see a bear near or near your home, on your deck, in your cabin or property.

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