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Bear sighted in Columbia, Richmond counties

Authorities urge residents to leave bear alone

Posted: June 17, 2014 - 11:06pm  |  Updated: June 18, 2014 - 12:18am

Authorities are urging residents to stay away from a black bear recently seen wandering in Columbia and Richmond counties.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources biologist I.B. Parnell said the department received several calls Sunday evening about a bear roaming the areas around Furys Ferry Road from Baston to Washington roads. It was caught on surveillance camera footage from a car dealership on Washington Road near Warren Road.

“We got all our catch equipment ready in case we needed to catch it,” Parnell said.

The bear was seen inside a sunroom of a home on Stardust Drive in Martinez, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.

“He walked through the sunroom door and pilfered around in a trash can then left,” Morris said, adding that no one was injured and the bear did no damage.

“He was spotted by deputies before DNR arrived. The bear left the area and wasn’t able to be relocated,” he said.

Parnell said the black bear is likely a juvenile male looking for new territory.

July is breeding season, and it isn’t uncommon to see wandering bears. If left alone, Parnell said, a bear will just keep moving.

“Typically, they will just continue to move on into an area not as populated,” Parnell said.

“We don’t have female bears in this part of the world, so they usually don’t set up shop and
stay.”

Parnell suggested that homeowners keep garbage inside a garage or indoors as to not attract the bear. And if they see him, retreat inside.

“Think of it as a wonderful, gee-whiz moment, kind of once in a lifetime in our area,” Parnell said.

He also advised to keep dogs away from the animal, if spotted.

“If he gets cornered, he’ll fight,” Parnell said.

Residents are advised to move all trash and pick up pet food bowls at night and not refill bird feeders in areas where the bear has been spotted.

 

 

GIVE BEAR SOME SPACE

DNR provides tips for handling bears in residential areas:

■ Never pursue a bear on foot or in vehicles in an attempt to chase it from the area.

■ Give it plenty of space and an avenue of retreat.

■ Homeowners should remove dogs from the area (keep them penned up) so the bear doesn’t run up a tree.

■ Remove all dog and cat food from porches or yards.

■ Put trash out only on the day of pickup.

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