SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – As you get ready for your Fourth of July barbeque today, keep an eye out for a young black bear in the Kingston area.

Residents reported seeing the young bruin last Thursday on Ridge Road on the western side of Route 1, and then a young bear was also spotted in the woods in Princeton a couple of days later, according to published reports.

Ridge Road resident Andra Camerota snapped a couple of photos of the bear in her yard Thursday.

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Camerota already had one encounter with a larger black bear last month when it purloined her bird feeder.

At the time, Camerota said it was a first for the family to see a bear in the yard, and it took her Tomcat, “Baby,” to run the interloper off of the property.

With the smaller bear making the rounds, Camerota decided to take down her birdfeeder, which seemed to be attracting the bears.

It is not known if the recent sightings and the larger bear are related.

Police put out an alert Friday about the recent sightings and reminding residents about what to do if you do see a bear.

According to the state, black bears have been spotted in all 21 counties throughout New Jersey in recent years due to an increase in their population.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection advises that some residents may observe black bears using yards as part of their natural travel corridors, according to the alert.

Police say the mere presence of a black bear is not considered a problem because bears tend to be wary of people.

It is important not to leave out any food or garbage that may encourage bears to linger in residential areas. One person feeding bears can create a problem bear that may affect the entire neighborhood, the alert said.

Black bears learn very quickly and bears that are fed intentionally or unintentionally by carelessly leaving out food or garbage will associate people with food, police said.

According to the DEP, bears will eat almost anything including human food, garbage, pet food, birdseed and small livestock. Once they find an easily accessible food source, like garbage in a housing development, they will lose their wariness of people and may return to the available food source.

To report a nuisance black bear, call the DEP's 24-hour, toll-free hotline: 1-877-WARN DEP (1-877-927-6337).

Police say to only call 911 if the bear poses an “immediate threat to humans,” attacks a pet or is being a nuisance and not to use the emergency number if it is not presenting an immediate danger to humans, pets or property.

Police also remind residents to:

Never feed the bears.

Never instigate the bears by cornering them or throwing objects at them.

Cover garbage cans with a secure lid.

Avoid bird feeders during bear season.

Immediately remove all uneaten food and food bowls used by pets fed outdoors.

If you encounter a bear remain calm and do not run. Make sure the bear has an escape route.

Avoid direct eye contact and back up slowly.

If you unsure about whether police response is necessary, call the South Brunswick Police Department’s non-emergency phone number, 732-329-4646.

For any additional information or questions call the South Brunswick Police Department’s Officer George Vit at 732-329-4000 Ext. 4460.

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