Black Bear Sightings In Ocean & Monmouth Rare [VIDEO]
This week's bear sighting in Lakewood, Jackson and Howell Township's are rare but not impossible.
Hundreds of concerned phone calls poured into police headquarters Tuesday and Wednesday regarding a black bear cub being seen at various points around the communities.
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The bear turned into something of an attraction on Wednesday night as several dozen children came to a residence on James Street in Lakewood to see the bear in a tree in a backyard according to the LakewoodScoop.com. An officer with a gun stood by in case the bear got unruly.
However, state environmental regulators say it's nothing to be alarmed about.
So what would the bear be looking for? Probably a meal and a place to sleep. State Department of Environmental Protection Spokesman Larry Ragonese says bears often avoid humans and run in fear when they hear noise.
Ragonese says "the bears are often more scared of you then you are of them. Don't ever feed them though or they will stick around. These bears are hungry but the threat risk to causing you bodily harm is very slim. Black bears are not known to attack humans."
Other things to keep in mind? Always lock up your garbage pails, after you use the barbecue grill, clean it thoroughly and always keep your distance if you see one.
According to state figures, the number of bear sightings for 2012 are down from last year. Ragonese says "we continue to track patterns but while many times they stay in the northern part of the state, bears live in all 21 counties in Jersey."
If you see a bear of any kind, you are urged to call your local police department. If there appears to be a threat, they will get in touch with the appropriate animal control authorities.