Bear Sightings in Wilmington Neighborhoods has communities on edge

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Photo| Whidbey News-Times

EDITOR’S NOTE: THE ORIGINAL TITLE “Bear Sighted in North Wilmington has communities on edge” HAS BEEN CHANGED TO  “Bear Sightings in Wilmington Neighborhoods has communities on edge” TO KEEP AN ALL IN ONE STORY”

North Wilmington residents have been on the edge lately during this busy holiday season and it’s not because of “Cyber Monday” but because they have been seeing more bears then they might want to and I’m not talking about the kind you was hoping to give your toddler, but an actual real big hairy bear you normally see out in the woods in the Midwest somewhere.

WILMINGTON (DE): Delaware State Police received reports of a bear sighting in the North Wilmington area on three different occasions on Wednesday morning.

According to police spokesman, Michael Austin, “between the early morning hours of approximately 3:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 the Delaware State Police received three reports of a bear sighting.”

The bear sightings that were reported were from I-95 in the area of the I-495 split, Manor Avenue at Philadelphia Pike, and I-95 in the area of Concord Pike.

Austin cautioned that these reports are only sightings and there has been no direct encounters or injuries and police were working with the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police regarding the sightings.

Austin said, “If you observe what appears to be a bear or any other wild animal, do not approach it, alert and shelter others near you and immediately call 911.”

Black Bear Attacks Are Very Uncommon

Black bears rarely become aggressive when encountered. However, it’s best to avoid bears by following these simple steps, and to know what to do if an encounter happens.

“Know what to do when you see a bear. NEVER run from a bear. Don’t approach a bear – just quietly move away and leave the area. However, if a bear does approach you, make yourself look big, make loud noises, clap your hands, and continue to back away.”, says Jaime Sajecki, Black Bear Project Leader at Virginia Department of Game and Inland. Fisheries.

And if you thought people were seeing or exaggerating things think again because early Thursday morning, Wilmington Police received reports of the bear in the city and shortly after confirmed the bear sighting.

Police began closing off streets in pursuit of the bear. Residents were told to shelter in place if they lived in the area of Brandywine Park, and specifically between Delaware and Pennsylvania avenues and from Lincoln Streets to Rodney Streets.

Residents in the area began hearing about the bear in their neighborhood in news reports as they woke up to prepare for morning activities, and just like the day before, the bear eluded it’s would be pursuers.

Also on Thursday, a bear trap was lent by Pennsylvania officials to Delaware officials to help trap the bear so it could be moved to a more safer and proper environment.

Officers said they hoped they would be able to tranquilize the animal if they could, though they warned that if it got too close to bystanders they might have to shoot it.

In fact, the bear was hit by a tranquilizer dart in a Trolley Square backyard, said Jerry Czech, game warden in Pennsylvania, but the dart fell out as the bear was climbing over fences and decks.

Residents and by standers could be seen trying to get a picture of the bear on their cell phones as police and wild life officers went running in pursuit of the bear.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control asked for the area to be cleared, and police urged people to go into Brew HaHa or to Delaware Avenue.

By 11:15 Am. Police began lifting the street closures, allowing residents in the area to resume normal activity.

“At this time, Wilmington Police are lifting street closures as the bear is no longer in our jurisdiction. Residents and motorists can resume normal activity.”, said Dave Karas, police spokesman for the Wilmington Police Department.

Police urged the public to report any sightings of the bear to the Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police 24-hour dispatch line at 800-523-3336 to help track its movements and to help locate the bear to enable a proper response. For general information on bears and wildlife, please call the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912.

Later, we learned that Brandywine and Alopcas State Park was closed to the public as Delaware Fish and Wildlife Division launched drones and picked up up the bear in the two state parks.

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