MIDDLETOWN — Residents in another Shore town are being warned about a bear sighting in a residential area.

Middletown police said they have increased patrols after a bear was spotted Thursday in the area of Nutswamp Road and across town on Packard Drive. The state Department of Environmental Protection was also notified.

Monmouth Musings reported a sighting on the federal road connecting Naval Weapons Station Earle’s Leonardo and Colts Neck facilities.

Residents were warned not to approach the bear, and to take in food left for their pets and  make sure garbage cans are sealed.

A bear was spotted Sunday in two backyards in Manchester. Police said they led the bear into nearby woods and away from homes in the Holly Oaks neighborhood of the Ocean County township.

In recent years, black bears have been sighted in every county of the state.

The DEP offers several tips on what to do if encountering a black bear in your yard or outdoors while hiking or camping.

  • 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!

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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