MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ — Residents in the area of Woodacres Drive near Beechwood School should be on the lookout for a bear that is actively roaming the area.

Police warn residents not to approach the animal or feed it. 

The bear has been spotted by local residents, who posted videos of it on the Mountainside Matters Facebook group. One of the videos of the bear was taken this morning, another a few hours later.

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Mountainside Police Department on its website posted a warning that a small black bear remains active in the area.

The department reminds residents to cover all household garbage to prevent it from becoming a food source for the animal.

With Fourth of July festivities just around the corner, it’s important to remember to use caution and be aware of your surroundings when cooking outside. Since bears are attracted to neighborhoods by garbage odors, it is important to remember to properly secure all garbage.

If you do see a bear in your neighborhood or while out in the woods, the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife on its website, offers the following safety tips:

  • Never feed or approach a bear!

  • Remain calm if you encounter a bear. Do not run from it.

  • Make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands, or making other noises.

  • Make sure the bear has an escape route.

  • If a bear enters your home, provide it with an escape route by propping all doors open.

  • Avoid direct eye contact, which may be perceived by a bear as a challenge. Never run from a bear. Instead, slowly back away.

  • To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, banging pots and pans or using an airhorn. Make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your head.

  • The bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping jaw sounds by snapping its jaws and swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away, avoid direct eye contact and do not run.

  • If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It is usually not a threatening behavior.

  • Black bears will sometimes "bluff charge" when cornered, threatened or attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then slowly back away and do not run.

  • If the bear does not leave, move to a secure area.

  • Report black bear damage or nuisance behavior to the DEP's 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1-877-WARN DEP (1-877-927-6337).

  • Families who live in areas frequented by black bears should have a "Bear Plan" in place for children, with an escape route and planned use of whistles and air horns.

  • Black bear attacks are extremely rare. If a black bear does attack, fight back!