Black Bear Sightings in Rockville

Officers from the Montgomery County 1st District have received reports of a black bear sighting yesterday evening in Rockville.

Yesterday at approximately 5:18 p.m., 1st District officers responded to three different reports of a black bear sighting all in close proximity. The first call received was in the area of the 11800 block of Coldstream Drive. The second call, received 46 minutes later, stated the black bear was in the back yard of a residence located in the 11800 block of Enid Drive. Then, officers received an additional sighting 25 minutes later in the 11800 block of Gainsborough Road. Montgomery County Animal Control officers, 1st District officers, and Maryland National Capital Park Police officers were canvassing the area and were not able to locate the black bear.

Black bears looking for unoccupied territory have been regular visitors to Montgomery County for the past several years. Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Services state that bears are a wide ranging animal. Adult females have an average home range of about 13 square miles, while adult males can cover 25 square miles. Young bears striking out on their own travel 100-150 miles in search of new territory. They occasionally wander into metropolitan areas.

Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Services advise that black bears are opportunistic feeders, which means they will eat whatever is easily accessible. The black bear are largely vegetarians and eat foods such as berries, other fruits, acorns, beechnuts, hickory nuts, insects, roots, grasses, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and carrion. As the opportunity arises, bears will also eat garbage, agricultural crops and bird food.

The Department of Natural Resource’s (DNR) suggest the following preventative measures to minimize bear problems on your property and what to do if a bear comes into your yard:
• Minimize the bear problems by reducing garbage odors. Rinse food cans and wrappers before disposal. Wash garbage cans regularly and use lime to cut odors.
• Bring your bird feeders in at night
• Do not leave pet food unattended.
• Keep barbecue grills and picnic tables clean.
• Barking dogs, bright lights, and noisemakers will sometimes discourage bears from coming into an area.
• If a bear should come into your yard, don’t panic and don’t approach it.
• Go inside and wait for the bear to leave.
• Make loud noises to scare it away. Most bears fear people and will leave when they see you.
• If you should encounter a bear outside of your home, back away, and leave the area. Give the bear plenty of room. If you should come in close range of the bear, speak to the bear in a calm assertive voice. Stay calm and don’t run. Remain upright and back away from the bear. Avoid direct eye contact and don’t crowd the bear’s personal space.

It is important to remember that black bear attacks are extremely rare. In Maryland, there are no known cases of a human being attacked by a black bear. If you should have further questions or want to report a wild animal nuisance on your property, you can contact DNR at 1-877-463-6497 or visit their website at www.dnr.state.md.us.

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