Local News

Un-bearable: Recent sightings of the animals startle Triangle residents

Posted July 3, 2019 6:05 p.m. EDT
Updated July 3, 2019 10:56 p.m. EDT

— From Durham to Cary, some Triangle residents have had some close encounters with bears in the last 24 hours.

Michael Brown sent WRAL News video of a black bear that showed up in his yard in Durham Tuesday night.

In Cary, Jay Larrea did what comes naturally to a millennial whose native habitat is digital when he saw a bear.

"I was shocked," he said. "The first thing I thought of was to pull out my camera and post it on SnapChat," he said.

Larrea works in the Information Technology Department at the North Carolina Healthcare Association, a woodsy campus off Weston Parkway in Cary.

He said he called Cary Animal Services, which fielded several other calls about what was likely the same bear.

He described it as young and smallish.

Durham bear sighting map

State wildlife biologist Falyn Owens told WRAL News that the bear Larrea saw is probably not the same bear in Brown’s video, recorded the night before at a home on Hamlin Road in Durham.

She said the Cary bear is smaller by several dozen pounds.

But their family story, she says, is basically the same: Mama Bear told them to move out because she's looking for a new mate.

"The female bears with the cubs from the previous year don't want to have those cubs around when she's being sought after by males," Owens said. "So, that's the time of year those young juvenile bears have to go off on their own."

She said those bears can wander into population centers in North Carolina, like Raleigh, from the mountains and coast, where black bears are more prevalent.

Said Owens: "Bears are very food driven. They're looking for foods that are packed with calories, fats and sugars. That's what they love."

But the animals will settle for a bird feeder or for the grease and sauce gooped on a grill.

That's why homeowners should remove any food or edible items from their yard to limit bear encounters, experts say.