by David Leone
WAKEFIELD — A black bear was sighted ambling down a driveway in a residential area on Kelway Drive Sunday.
Though the sighting is rare for the Raleigh suburb, it’s actually bear season, according to a press release by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. That means it’s not unheard of for bears to wander into public areas.
“It is not uncommon to see a black bear in spring in the Piedmont region,” the release states. “Juvenile bears (1-2 years old) are dispersing from their den’s home area, while adult bears can roam extensively searching for food and mates.”
The best thing to do when you see a bear is leave it alone.
Sometimes a young bear finds its way accidentally into residential areas when the natural corridor, river or drainage ditch it is traveling on leads into town.
This often happens at night, when human activity is low and vehicle traffic is light. However, at daybreak the bear finds itself in the middle of increasing human activities.
If left alone by the public, most young transient bears will find their way quickly back out of the town and to their natural habitat.
The Wakefield bear was heading toward the Falls Lake state recreation area when last sighted. The state park is a short distance from the community, perhaps a half-mile west of Kelway Drive.
Residents can avoid problems by:
•Securing bags of trash inside cans stored in a garage, basement or other secure area, and placing the cans outside, as late as possible, on trash pick-up days — not the night before.
•Purchasing bear-proof garbage cans or bear proofing your existing garbage container with a secure latching system.
•Discontinuing the feeding of wild birds during spring and summer, even with feeders advertised as “bear-proof.” Bears are still attracted to seed that spills on the ground.
•Avoiding “free feeding” pets outdoors. If you must feed pets outdoors, make sure all food is consumed and empty bowls are removed.
•Cleaning all food and grease from barbecue grills after each use. Bears are attracted to food odors and may investigate.