PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Plainfield Police Department is reporting a large black bear was sighted in the East End in the area of Berckman and Woodland Avenue. The bear was sighted along the railroad tracks. The Plainfield Police Nixle alert urges residents in the area to stay indoors and call 911 if they see the bear.

The sighting comes on the heels of multiple sightings of a black bear last evening in Watchung in the area of Bay Berry Lane. Last night’s alert was issued by the Watchung Police Department at 7:40pm. The Watchung Police are said to have contacted the State Department of Environmental Protection.

After an extremely harsh winter, there were a number of Bear sightings in early April in Warren, Bound Brook and Bridgewater. Sporadic sights in Somerset County have almost reached the point of being somewhat common. Although not the first time sighted in Union County, it is believed this is the first time a bear has been sighted in Plainfield in over a century.

The bear population in New Jersey has been a growing debate as man versus bear confrontations have escalated over the past few years. Last year, an Edison resident was killed in a bear attack while hiking in West Milford New Jersey. Bears are not typically known for attacking humans, but they are wild animals and authorities warn against feeding bears and advise residents to use caution if a bear is in the area.