Sal Passalacqua, owner of Dimaios Cucina in Berkeley Heights, shared a cell phone video that one of his waiters took of a black bear strolling through their outdoor seating area on Thursday just before dinner service. The bear traveled through their parking lot, under the tent, through the main seating area then continued north across Springfield Avenue.
This close encounter is just one of many that residents have reported to local authorities and posted on social media. "Seems like there are bears all over the area. Or, this one really gets around," said Passalacqua.
According to the latest New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife's Black Bear Activity Report, sightings are up 93.39 percent in 2020 across the entire state compared to the same timeframe last year.
Bears are attracted by odors, therefore, properly securing your garbage is one of the best ways to prevent bears from becoming a nuisance in your neighborhood.
For tips on proper garbage management and coexisting with bears, visit the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife website.
To report a nuisance black bear, call New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1.877.WARN DEP (1.877.927.6337).
Remember, never feed bears—not only is it illegal in New Jersey, it’s dangerous!