South Brunswick Police received three reports of bear sightings in the township on Monday. The sightings were reported on Route 27, on Promenade Boulevard, and off Raymond Road, according to police.
The wayward bruin was spotted going through backyards and crossing roadways earlier today.
Last month,The bear was said to be a large male (see photo) weighing approximately 300 lbs. South Brunswick Police also received a call reporting a bear on Broadway Road in June.
"While I would have expected a roaming bear in this area this time of year to be an approximately 100-pound male yearling, this bear looked bigger to me and to two women, who were also driving by," said reader Joseph Sapia. "The women told me they had just seen the bear on the other side, the north side, of Davidson Mill Road."
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issued some common sense steps for residents to take in order to reduce the risk of attracting bears, while enhancing public safety.
Most importantly is to not feed bears, intentionally or otherwise. Intentionally feeding black bears is illegal in New Jersey and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 per offense.
A more commonly found problem is people unintentionally feeding bears, caused when homeowners unknowingly leave garbage, pet food and bird feed available for bears to find and eat, according to the DEP.
The DEP said bears eventually learn to associate food with people, their homes and their living areas. This association can lead to the bears becoming a nuisance by regularly foraging in neighborhoods because residences are seen as easy sources of food.
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife provided the following information:
- A black bear passing through a residential area should not be considered a problem, as long as it is behaving normally and not posing a threat.
- If you encounter a bear remain calm and do not run. Make sure the bear has an escape route.
- Avoid direct eye contact, back up slowly and speak with a low, assertive voice.
- Black bear attacks are extremely rare.
Residents are asked to report bear damage, nuisance behavior or aggressive bears to the Wildlife Control Unit of the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife at 908-735-8793.
Anyone spotting a bear should contact South Brunswick Police at 732-329-4646.