TOMS RIVER – First it was Little Egg Harbor near a golf course. Then it was in Lakewood outside a university. Now, it was seen roaming in a Toms River Township neighborhood.
Police have issued an alert that a black bear was seen walking around the Oak Ridge section of town on the evening of June 24.
Police have been in contact with the Department of Environmental Protection and they advised them they’ve been tracking the bear through multiple towns.
Police said he has not been aggressive and they believe he will continue to move west and out of town by the days end.
However, unlike Yogi and Boo Boo, authorities urge you not to feed him – not even a picnic basket – and stay away from him if you see him.
Earlier this week, the bear was spotted at the Ocean County Golf Course at Atlantis in Little Egg Harbor. Then he was seen outside Georgian Court University in Lakewood.
Black bear sightings are rare but not unheard of around Ocean County, particularly in areas where development has encroached into their habitat.
Officials released the following tips on how to stay safe from bears:
- Never feed a bear. Deliberately feeding bears puts pets and other residents in the neighborhood at risk.
- Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.
- Remove sources of water, especially in dry climates.
- Bring pets in at night.
- Put away bird feeders at night to avoid attracting rodents and other prey.
- Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
- Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
- Clear brush and dense weeds from around dwellings – this reduces protective cover for bears and makes the area less attractive.
- If a bear is present, make sure they know they’re not welcome. Make loud noises, blast a canned air siren.