If you want to see a bear, you don’t have to go to a zoo. Chances are a trip to Williamsburg might just suffice.
Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird said that there have been numerous bear sightings in the city over the last three months, and authorities don’t think it is the same animal being spotted multiple times.
"We had one hit on the interstate and killed. We had one hit at the foot of the jail. We’ve had numerous bear sightings from 11th Street west in the city," Bird said.
The most recent sighting was early Monday evening in the Sunshine Valley area.
Greta Price said she had some friends over at her home and was in the kitchen when one of them spotted a black bear in her back yard about 6:17 p.m.
"She said, ‘There is a big black bear in your back yard.’ I went to the back door, and my other friend was trying to take a picture of it. The kids started screaming so much that it ran away really quickly," Price said.
"We called 911 to see if they could get animal control, but we were actually the second call. It had been in some other people’s yards just prior to that."
Price, who is from West Virginia, said she wasn’t too alarmed by the bear.
"I saw bears pretty frequently in garbage and things there. Everyone else wasn’t used to that so they were pretty freaked out," she added.
About three to four weeks ago, a bear cub was spotted on someone’s back porch near Boulevard of Champions, Bird said.
If you see a bear, don’t approach it or try to get close to it because they are wild animals.
Contact 911, and report the bear’s location.
"If the bear is a nuisance, and it continues to come back to the same area, we will notify fish and wildlife," Bird said. "They will come down and set up a trap for it, and try to relocate it."
He said there things people can do to keep bears from returning to their neighborhoods a second or third time.
"Absolutely do not feed them. They are extremely tolerable to people, and they are extremely curious. The worst mistake you could make would be to feed one of them, or make food available to them," Bird said.
"If a bear comes into an area and it can’t get food it is going to move on, but if it can get food, it is going to stay."