Uptick in Bear Sightings

by | Jul 29, 2023

STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The summer season has many enjoying the great outdoors, especially in areas like the Pocono Mountains.

But you may come into contact with dangerous wildlife.Susquehanna River raft makes waves on social media

The beautiful views of Mount Tammany, a popular hiking spot in the Poconos is currently closed due to a spike in black bear activity.

28/22 News headed over to Pocono Wildlife Center in Stroudsburg to find out if the uptick in black bear sightings is normal.

“There really isn’t anything causing this, there are more people out. There are more people looking all over the place, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors and so they’re seeing more wildlife and so they’re seeing more bears,” said Susan Downing the Co-Executive Director at Pocono Wildlife.

Downing knows a thing or two about the powerful animals as the center is currently caring for four orphaned cubs.

“Three of them were from one mother and then we got another one a month later from another mother, and both were hit by a car,” Downing says.

According to the PA Game Commission, black bear numbers have increased significantly with around 18,000 throughout the state.

The dramatic growth in numbers gives more opportunities for people to see bears in their natural habitat but has also brought an increase in conflicts such as property damage.

“Because they’re spotting more of them, they’re more cautious, they report them. We’ve had many, many reports and it’s just, ‘yup, there’s bear out there. Everything’s fine. Do they look injured?’” Downing added.

Downing says although they may be fascinating to watch black bears are incredibly dangerous animals so you need to stay clear and back away if you come across one.

“Don’t feed them. Please don’t feed them. You’re only causing trouble for them, they’ll end up most likely having to be killed because they get too comfortable around humans and you’ll end up having lots of stuff destroyed,” Downing continued.

Making loud noises such as playing music can help scare off a black bear.

But if you see one injured in the wild, keep your distance and call Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission works with “Bear-Wise” a black bear program that helps homeowners and communities co-exist with bears.

The Pocono Wildlife Rehab Center runs solely off of donations. If you’d like to donate to them, you can click here for their website with more information.

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