Bear visits Harbor of Hospitality

black bear_TN 2_5.jpg

This photo, from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, shows a black bear, the only bear species found in North Carolina. A black bear was spotted in downtown Elizabeth City last weekend.


By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A black bear was spotted in downtown Elizabeth City Sunday night, prompting city officials to recommend nearby residents and businesses take precautions.

The Elizabeth City Police Department responded to sightings of the bear around 9:21 p.m. Sunday night, the ECPD announced Monday. The bear apparently wandered there after scavenging through trash cans at nearby condos in Camden.

Lynn Merritt, of Gardner Point, got a pretty good look at the bear. It was sniffing around her front porch Sunday night, and triggered her motion-activated porch camera. It looked like a fully grown bear, she said.

Merritt stayed inside until the bear left, but some of her neighbors went out looking for it, she said. She also said it toppled all their trash cans.

The bear was then seen around North Poindexter Street in Elizabeth City, according to the ECPD. The release doesn't indicate that the bear caused any injuries or significant property damage.

According to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, black bears are typically shy, but are dangerous if they or their cubs feel threatened. An adult bear can weigh hundreds of pounds and has been clocked sprinting at 35 mph, according to its website. Though it’s winter, black bears may delay hibernating while temperatures are mild, according to a wildlife staffer.

The ECPD also recommended numerous steps to take to ward off black bears, including:

— Never approach or corner a bear, especially if a cub is nearby

— Don't run from a black bear; slowly back away and leave the area

— Don't throw anything, including food at an approaching bear

— If you notice a bear on your property, make loud noises from a safe distance to scare it away

— Don't leave any food outside or easily accessible; remove bird feeders and suet, keep pet food inside, and store garbage cans and grills in secure locations

— Put locks on garbage can lids, and put out garbage cans the morning of pick-up, not the night before

The ECPD also advises reporting any black bear sightings by calling 911 or N.C. Wildlife at 919-662-4381.