Be on the lookout: Bear spotted in Ewing Township
Ewing has become the latest New Jersey town to be on the lookout for bears after a homeowner said she was visited twice.
Mayor Bert Steinmann and Ewing Police warned residents of the sighting in the Mercer County township's Mountain View section, a more rural area north of Route 95 near the border with Hopewell.
"If you see a bear, please move to a safe location and call 911 immediately," Steinmann said in a statement that asked residents to secure trash cans and take in bird feeders.
Wendy Robinson, who lives on Willis Drive, told NJ Advance Media a bear showed up in her backyard on Sunday morning standing over her bird feeder before running. Robinson said a bear visited her backyard on April 24 and thinks they are living in the neighborhood's Banchoff Park, which is located near Lore Elementary School.
The news site reports a bear was also spotted at a home on nearby Nursery Road in Hopewell.
According to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife there were 442 incidents involving bears reported to the division this year through May 20, which is down from the same period in 2015. Most of those incidents were classified as involving garbage, nuisance or property damage. Five involved home entry according to Fish & Game.
The DEP offers these "common sense safety tips" for those encountering a bear.
- Never feed or approach a bear!
- Remain calm if you encounter a bear. Do not run from it.
- Make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands, or making other noises.
- Make sure the bear has an escape route.
- If a bear enters your home, provide it with an escape route by propping all doors open.
- Avoid direct eye contact, which may be perceived by a bear as a challenge. Never run from a bear. Instead, slowly back away.
- To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, banging pots and pans or using an airhorn. Make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your head.
- The bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping jaw sounds by snapping its jaws and swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away, avoid direct eye contact and do not run.
- If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It is usually not a threatening behavior.
- Black bears will sometimes "bluff charge" when cornered, threatened or attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then slowly back away and do not run.
- If the bear does not leave, move to a secure area.
- Report black bear damage or nuisance behavior to the DEP's 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1-877-WARN DEP (1-877-927-6337).
- Families who live in areas frequented by black bears should have a "Bear Plan" in place for children, with an escape route and planned use of whistles and air horns.
- Black bear attacks are extremely rare. If a black bear does attack, fight back!