MANCHESTER – Police are advising residents to take precautions should they encounter a black bear that may be living in or around the eastern portion of Manchester Township.
The bear, spotted in the township’s Cedar Glen Homes and Holly Oaks section on May 21, is not believed to have caused any significant disturbances, police said. However, residents should be vigilant as to its presence in the area.
On Sunday evening, the Manchester Township Police responded to Holly Hill Road in the Holly Oaks section of the township for the report of a black bear sighting. The bear, believed to be approximately 200-250 lbs. was located climbing a tree in a homeowner’s yard. Officers, using sirens, air horns and water hoses, were able to move the bear, which was not aggressive, to the wooded area behind Holly Oaks along the Jackson and Toms River border. Officers are not permitted to utilize lethal force on any animals, domestic or wild that do not pose an immediate threat to their safety or the safety of others.
By nature, black bears tend to be wary of people. However, since it is possible the bear may wander back into residential areas, Manchester Township Police are advising residents to become familiar with the following bear safety tips published on the Division of Fish and Wildlife website (www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearfacts_safetytips.htm):
- Never feed or approach a bear!
- Remain calm if you encounter a bear.
- Make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands, or making other noises.
- Make sure the bear has an escape route.
- If a bear enters your home, provide it with an escape route by propping all doors open.
- Avoid direct eye contact, which may be perceived by a bear as a challenge.
- Never run from a bear. Instead, slowly back away.
- To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, banging and pans or using an air horn. Make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your head.
- The bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping jaw sounds by snapping its jaws and swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away, avoid direct eye contact and do not run.
- If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It is usually not a threatening behavior.
- Black bears will sometimes “bluff charge” when cornered, threatened or attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then slowly back away and do not run.
- If the bear does not leave, move to a secure area.
- Report black bear damage or nuisance behavior to the DEP’s hotline at 1-877-WARN DEP (1-877-927-6337). This hotline is 24-hour and toll-free.
- Families who live in areas frequented by black bears should have a “Bear Plan” in place for children, with an escape route and planned use of whistles and air horns.
Please consult the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s “Know the Bear Facts: Black Bears in New Jersey” for additional information (www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearfacts.htm).