MILLTOWN, NJ - The Milltown Police Department is warning residents about a bear sighting in the area of South Brook Drive. They are advising residents via Nixle to report any residential bear sightings to the police department and to not approach the animal.

Last week two black bears were reportedly spotted in the Princeton area, prompting the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife to remind residents that bears are typically attracted into residential areas with food odors.

While bear attacks are rare, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection DIvision of Fish and Wildlife does offer some tips if a person encounters a bear in their neighborhood or while hiking or camping.

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First off, it is important to remember that bears avoid people for the most part. However, if a person does encounter a bear:

  • Do not approach the animal or make eye contact. The bear will perceive direct eye contact as a challenge.
  • Do not attempt to feed the bear or offer food. Feeding bears is illegal in New Jersey and can result in fines.
  • Remain calm. Animals do sense fear in humans.
  • Make your prescence known by speaking loudly, singing, clapping or making other loud noises to scare the bear away.
  • Make sure the bear has an escape route. Do not corner the animal.
  • Banging pots and pans or using an airhorn are recommended for scaring the bear away if it is in a yard or campsite.
  • Never run from the bear. Slowly back away and be sure to avoid direct eye contact.

Bears are often attracted into residential neighborhoods in search of food, which is why the the NJ Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife offers other tips to avoid indirectly attracting bears into a person's backyard. Here are some additional tips to bear proof the home.

  • Do not feed pets outside. If a pet is fed outdoors, be sure to clean up any remaining food.
  • Do not store pet food outside. Make sure to store pet food indoors in secure containers.
  • Clean up after pets.
  • Bird feeders do attract bears and they are not recommended in homes where the bear population is large. Even bird feeders that hang in trees can tempt bears since they are proficient climbers.
  • The smells from outdoor grills can attract bears, so be sure to clean them up after each use. Don't dump grill grease in the yard.
  • Make sure garbage cans are secured and the lids are on tightly. People living in bear-prone areas need to take special care with their garbage.

Report any bear sightings in the Milltown area to the Milltown Police Department at 732-828-1100.