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Food-Foraging Mahwah Mama Bear Prompts Common-Sense Tips From Police

Mama came looking for food.
Mama came looking for food. Photo Credit: DAILY VOICE contributed photos
The sow first tried looking into a garbage can, police said.
The sow first tried looking into a garbage can, police said. Photo Credit: DAILY VOICE contributed photos.
Then she took a look inside before heading back into the woods.
Then she took a look inside before heading back into the woods. Photo Credit: DAILY VOICE contributed photos

MAHWAH, N.J. -- A food-foraging black bear photographed when she came to a Mahwah homeowners's back door prompted township police to reissue warnings about dealing with them.

Several residents reported seeing bears the middle of Monday morning in Rio Vista, located in the Fardale section of town near the Ramapo Mountains, Police Chief James Batelli told Daily Voice.

A female black bear (sow) and her cub were first spotted trying to remove a cover from an outdoor grill and then looking in the back door of a residence, the chief said.

Estimated at 250 or so pounds, she eventually raised up on her hind legs, searching for food, before running off into the woods with her cub, he said.

Black bear attacks against humans are extremely rare, Batelli said -- but that doesn't mean people shouldn't take precautions to protect themselves and their property.

He advised:

  • Keeping garbage cans secured tightly;
  • Shutting garage doors, especially if garbage cans are kept there;
  • Temporarily removing birdseed from feeders;
  • Never feeding or approaching a bear;
  • Avoiding direct eye contact, which may be perceived as a challenge;
  • Never running from a bear -- back away slowly;
  • Never cornering a bear.

"A bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping signs by snapping its jaws and swatting the ground," the chief said.

"These are warning signs that you are too close," he said. "Slowly back away, avoid eye contact -- and do not run."

The Police use air horns and sirens to scare bears back into the woods.

Tyco Animal Control in Midland Park provides advice to police and residents on how to deal with bears in residential areas.

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