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Black bears spotted in Monroe Township

One day after a black bear sighting in East Windsor, two more bears were spotted, this time in Monroe Township.

Black Bear Sighting in South Jersey
Black bear in a Mount Laurel neighborhood (Michele Pilenza/NJ1015)

Monroe Township Police issued an alert on Tuesday morning for two bears spotted in the area of Cranbury South River Road and Costco Drive. Residents are warned not to feed the bears and to keep garbage inside.

On Monday afternoon, a bear was spotted in the Twin Rivers development in neighboring East Windsor. Trenton Police Officer Lenny Aviles told CBS Philly he advised his son to go behind a fence when the bear approached.

“I start [saying], ‘Go away bear, go away bear.’ He kind of grunted at me and I flung the chair. Then he walked away, just turned and walked away,” Aviles told CBS Philly.

Last week, police in Mount Laurel tracked a black bear wandering around south Jersey. They did not attempt to harm or capture the bear but made residents aware of its location. It tended to rest during the afternoon to stay out of the heat.

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife says bears are the largest land mammal in the state and explains that bears are attracted to residential areas because of garbage that is not properly secured. Bears are wary of people and will not necessarily attack when spotted. Feeding a bear, however, will make that wariness disappear, causing the bruin to become a nuisance or even an aggressor.

It is also illegal to feed a black bear in New Jersey and offenders could be fined $1,000 for each offense.

Other tips from the New Jersey DEP about black bears:

  • Never feed or approach a bear.
  • Remain calm if you encounter a bear.
  • 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!

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