DENVILLE, NJ -- Black bear sightings have been reported throughout Denville. One stopped by the Forges on June 7, according to a post on a private Facebook page.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife offers the following bear safety tips on its website.
Black bears by nature tend to be wary of humans and avoid people. If, however, you encounter a black bear in your neighborhood or outdoors while hiking or camping, follow these common-sense 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 air horn. 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!
According to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife policy, no attempt is made to capture a Category III bear unless it is confined in a fenced area or treed in an urban area during daylight and any further movement will result in a threat to safety of the public or the animal due to potential vehicle collision.
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