Bear sightings in New Castle County

    (Ken Thomas photo)

    (Ken Thomas photo)

    New Castle County Police have received two reports of black bear sightings in northern New Castle County. 

    A bear was first seen last night at 11 p.m. in Hockessin.

    The caller saw the black bear in his backyard in the 100 block of Dewberry Drive in the Ramsey Ridge neighborhood. The bear was helping itself to the caller’s trash, bird seed and birdbath before taking off in the direction of Blueberry Court. NCCPD couldn’t find the bear.

    The second reported sighting was called in early Wednesday morning at 6:45 a.m. in Wilmington’s Wood Creek community, which is about 6 miles from where the first call came in from. The second caller said he saw the black bear on the side of his house located in the unit block of Woodward Drive. The bear then ran to the area of Wood Creek Park. Again, police responded, but were unable to locate it.

    A bear was spotted just over the border in Chadds Ford, PA, Monday night. Police spokesman Officer First Class John-Paul Piser said because there are no photos of the bear(s) in these two incidents, he can’t confirm if it’s the same bear.

    NCCPD provided the following tips, should you encounter 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.
    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 airhorn. 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.
    Black bear attacks are extremely rare. If a black bear does attack, fight back!

    If you spot a bear, call the Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police at (800) 523-3336. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.