Multiple recent bear sightings has residents shaken up in Bridgeport

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 10:32 AM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - There have been multiple bear sightings in Bridgeport at around 9 pm on Wednesday, according to the Bridgeport Police Department.

Police say they received multiple calls about a black bear spotted in Parkview and there was another bear spotted in Shearwood Forest. Police advise residents to not feed, interact, attempt to get close to the bears.

“I didn’t really have an encounter until my folks were coming up to visit me,” said resident Nicholas Godeke. He says he saw trash everywhere and says, “My first thought was initially like, ‘man like, my neighbors are kinda lazy their bags are just torn up and they left it out here.’” But that was not the case. “I’m on the phone with my mom and I’m looking up at the dumpster and all of a sudden, this figure kind of just emerges cut away to video and I make eye contact with it, it looks over at me and that’s when I realized, that’s the freaking bear,”

The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources tells 5 News that the state broke a record with bear sightings.

District Wildlife Biologist Steve Rauch says that the number one key to living with bears is to never feed or approach them. He says, “it’s important that we don’t give them something that’s going to attract them. Feeding pets, outside pets, after they eat you should take up the food.” He says once that happens, it’s very difficult to break them of that. “What happened last year was we had a problem with the cold weather in may that knocked out a lot of the soft mass, apples, that kind of stuff, and it removed a lot of natural food sources.”

Rauch also says that you should always have your guard up. “There’s always that possibility of other bears passing through which is a natural for them to be passing through especially the yearling as they’re dispersing.”

The WV DNR is working with area residents in relocating the bears.

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