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Over the past several weeks the Waynesboro Emergency Operations Center has received an extraordinary number of Bear sightings and bear related calls for service in various areas of the city. In some cases bears have gotten into trash, been observed in yards, trees, and reportedly even attempted to enter one residence. In most of the cases the bears are reported just traveling through an area or property which does not generally require a police response due to their being no threat to persons or property. In some cases, however, due to the proximity of humans or domestic animals, as well as damage to property by the bear, officers are dispatched. Even though the number of calls for bears this year appears to be significantly higher than previous, we always have some calls due to the city’s proximity to their natural habitat, as well as, certain feeding behaviors and the natural curiosity of this animal. This, coupled with the public’s perception of bears has led us to take this opportunity to make our citizens aware of useful tips or information to minimize the likelihood of human/bear confrontations.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries web site has just such information and interested readers may follow the link below to learn how to prevent and/or handle bear encounters.