One of the first bear sightings of the New Year has been reported in the area.
It happened on Wednesday, Jan. 8 near the Putnam County/Dutchess border where a Pawling resident received a surprise when she checked her home's surveillance camera feed and found an unexpected visitor: a black bear.
In the video, the bear can be seen activating security lights, making the rounds, investigating the backyard before taking off from the driveway of the home into a nearby wooded area without incident.
The new sighting comes after several throughout the area late last year.
According to environment officials, residents should not leave garbage cans or any food outside to help avoid an encounter with a bear. Bears should never be approached, surrounded or cornered, as bears will “aggressively defend themselves if they feel threatened."
“Be especially cautious around cubs, as mother bears are very protected,” officials said. “Never run from a bear; stay calm, speak in a loud and calm voice and slowly back away from a safe distance. Make loud noises by shouting or banging pots to scare the bear away.
According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, “though rarely seen by most New Yorkers, black bears are valued by hunters, photographers, and wildlife watchers.
“Many people enjoy just knowing that bears are present in New York. For many, black bears symbolize wilderness and wildness, but increasingly, bears can be found in semi-rural environments, agricultural areas, and occasionally in urban centers.”
In the event of a bear sighting, wildlife officials offered a series of tips in case of a close encounter:
- Remain calm and avoid sudden movements;
- Give the bear plenty of room, allowing it to continue its activities undisturbed. If it changes its behavior, you are too close, back away;
- If you see a bear, but it doesn't see you, detour quickly and quietly;
- If it sees you, talk in normal tones and wave your arms;
- If a bear pursues you, do not run. Throw a personal item on the ground. He may be distracted by this and allow you to slowly escape;
- A standing bear is not always a sign of aggression. Many bears will stand to get a better view.
"If a bear is seen in your town or neighborhood, leave it alone. In most situations, if left alone and given an avenue for escape, the bear will usually wander back into more secluded areas," according to officials. "Keep dogs under control.
"Stay away from the bear and advise others to do the same. Do not approach the bear so as to take a photo or video. Often a bear will climb a tree to avoid people. A crowd of bystanders will only stress the bear and also add the risk that the bear will be chased into traffic or the crowd of people."
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