CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Chapel Hill police said they are warning people to be cautious after black bear sightings were reported in the area.
Friday and Saturday night, the police department said officers have reported two bear sightings along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
They said one of them was at the intersection of Blossom Lane and the other was at the intersection of Dixie Lane.
It comes after photos circled last month of several black bear sightings reported in Fayetteville.
According to the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, black bears tend to be shy and non-aggressive toward humans.
Police shared some tips from the commission on how to avoid problems with bears:
- Never feed or approach bears
- Secure food, garbage, and recycling
- Remove bird feeders when bears are active
- Never leave pet food out
- Clean and store grills
- Let neighbors know about bear activity
If you see a black bear, the commission advises you to stay calm, because bears are usually wary of people unless humans feed or provoke them.
They said you should never approach, surround, or corner a bear.
One way to tell if you are too close is if it changes its natural behavior because you’re nearby, according to the commission.
If you end up in that situation, officials said you should back away slowly and make lots of noise to frighten the bear once you’re a safe distance away.
Black bears are currently found in about 60 percent of the total land area of North Carolina, according to the State Wildlife Resources Commission.
The commission said recent research has shown bears to be much more adaptable to habitat changes than previously thought, and that some bears have adapted to living near developed areas.
Click here to learn more about black bears in North Carolina.