Beware of the bears!

Published 11:57 am Thursday, April 23, 2015

AHOSKIE – Apparently, the Bears are not only confined to Hertford County High School.

Recent sightings of these creatures (the wild animals, not HCHS students whose school mascot is a bear) have been reported in the northern area of town, even as far out as Buster Moore Road (located off Willoughby Road). Those sightings have led the Ahoskie Police and the North Carolina Wildlife Commission to warn the general public fn ways they can help prevent bears from coming onto their property, and, if they do, officials warn citizens not to interact with these creatures.

“We’ve had several reports of bears within the town limits,” said Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh. “The majority of those sightings have been along North Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. There was one report of a mother and her two cubs roaming around in a wooded area behind a home.

“I would urge extreme caution if you come in contact with a bear,” Fitzhugh added. “Black bear are normally non-aggressive and are perhaps more frightened of a human than you are of a black bear. However, the element of danger does increase when there are bear cubs. A mother is very protective of her cubs and will become aggressive if she feels her cubs are in danger. So my advice is to just leave them alone.”

Fitzhugh added that APD Sgt. Jeffery Woodard spoke with a Wildlife Commission biologist, who repeated the Police Chief’s advice about leaving bears alone.

“If you are outside and see one, do not pay the bear any attention, and notify law enforcement or the Wildlife Commission,” said the biologist. “Nothing they are doing right now is out of the normal range; if you notice any changes such as seeing them in mid day, or they are becoming comfortable around humans, please contact your nearest law enforcement agency or the Wildlife Commission immediately.”

Other tips in helping to prevent bears from roaming onto your property include not placing food scraps in outside trash containers; do not pour any type of cooking oil or grease on the ground around your residence; and securing trash containers inside some type of building.

If you do place food scraps in the trash cans, pour some bleach or ammonia inside the can. You can also spray bleach or ammonia around the tops of the trash cans.

“I urge all citizens to leave the bears alone, they are still wild animals,” stated the biologist. “I realize they are in your yards and possibly coming onto your porches.  All of these actions by these bears are normal as they have been in hibernation all winter and have now come out; there are no crops in the fields and no other food sources in the woods. These bears are simply looking for food and when they find a food source they are going to continue to come to that source until there is nothing there for them anymore.

“I cannot stress the importance of this enough.  Please do not attempt to feed these animals anything. If you change their normal behavior, you will create a hazard. Just leave them alone,” he closed.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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