Some Northern Westchester residents had an unexpected visitor as one or more black bears made the rounds through their neighborhoods.
The New Castle Police Department issued alerts for two separate bear sightings that happened in a 24-hour span.
On Friday morning, Oct. 22, the department advised that a black bear was seen making the rounds in the area of Twin Ridges Road and Lake way in the town of New Castle.
Police said that the bear stuck to himself, and did not create any public disturbances before heading back into the woods.
Late Saturday morning, Oct. 23, the department reported a new bear sighting, this one in the area of Heathcote Drive as well as White Oak Lane.
It's unclear, of course, whether it was the same bear.
"The (New York State) Environmental Conservation advises that bears will only be encouraged to leave the area unless the bear creates a public disturbance, acts aggressively towards a human or a pet, attempts to enter a home, or is injured and cannot move freely to escape," the department noted.
In response to the initial sighting, an alert was issued by police to stay clear of the bear.
The NYSDEC said that to avoid coming into contact with bears, homeowners should:
- Keep garage doors and ground-floor windows closed;
- Do not feed bears under any circumstances;
- Keep garbage, pet food, and birdseed inside a shed, garage, or house, and remove bird feeders;
- Move grills indoors or away from the home, and clean after each use;
- Those with invisible fences for pets, use a leash in yards where the bears have been observed.
If a person encounters a black bear, they should back away slowly as opposed to running and not make any sudden movements.
However, if a person is feeling threatened by a bear, the DEC suggests they should lift their arms above their head and yell loudly at the bear while backing away.
“What’s important to remember, according to officials, is that black bears are a common part of the state wildlife and shouldn’t be feared — so long as you take precautions and act appropriately if you come across one.
"If a bear creates any problem, the New Castle Police will respond, and, if necessary, the NYSDEC. Otherwise, the black bear is natural to the area and residents should take the following NYSDEC recommended precautions."
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