ROANOKE, VA – The Roanoke Police Department on Saturday said there had been numerous black bear sightings across the city this week. While a black bear sighting should not cause panic in the community, the department says residents need to be aware, alert and know who to deal with a black bear sighting.
“There continue to be numerous sightings of bears in and around the City of Roanoke. It’s normal this time of year for bears to venture closer into the city in search of food, but we understand that seeing these large animals can be unsettling or scary.,” the department said. “Please remember that these animals are, more often than not, more afraid of you than you are of them.”
The department offered the following tips for dealing with black bears in your neighborhood.
- Give the bears plenty of space. If you leave them alone, they will most likely leave you alone. This includes supervising small animals and children while they are outdoors, and immediately leaving the area if you see a bear. Don’t forget to look up and check for bears in trees! Giving them a clear path to escape will ensure that everyone stays safe.
- Remove any and all food sources from your property. This includes bird feeders and food that you may have set outside for your pets or stray animals in the neighborhood. Pet food is a fun treat for bears, who will continue to return to your home for easily attainable snacks.
- Secure or remove trash cans. Bears love your leftovers and table scraps — please invest in a locking trash can or keep your trash can inside until trash collection day.
If the bear seems injured or trapped and/or becomes an immediate threat, please contact the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resource’s Wildlife Conflict Helpline at (855) 571-9003.
“Our Animal Wardens aren’t equipped to handle calls related to non-domestic animals the size of a bear.,” the department said. “Those cases are typically handled by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, and we greatly appreciate all they do to keep the Virginia wildlife and community safe. We have been in close contact with them regarding these bear sightings. Please make sure you’re doing all you can to stay safe and bear aware.”