Some Waverly residents had a bit of a surprise late Friday morning, as a young black bear was reported roaming around in the area between Second and Seventh streets.
According to the officers from the Waverly Police Department, the first call came in at 10:53 a.m. of a bear sighting. More calls came through as the bear was spotted throughout the neighborhood, cutting through some yards and crossing the streets.
A post from the Waverly Police Department on Facebook read: “We are currently in pursuit of a bear. Citizens are in no danger, but please stay inside! When citizens come out it’s scaring the poor fella & making it harder to keep the bear contained. ODNR is enroute!! Thank you!”
The wandering black bear was pushed toward the Waverly Estates by Waverly Police Department officers. It eventually exited town into the fields behind Seventh Street and Beverly Avenue, disappearing into a field behind the Bristol Village White Elephant building toward the woods and farm fields of the Scioto River Valley beyond the village of Waverly.
Another update from the Waverly Police Department read:
“The bear was first spotted in the area of 7th Street and wandered toward Beverly Avenue. He has returned home and citizens are clear to return to their daily activities.
“ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) is requesting that Waverly residents not leave any type of food outside for the next 48 hours. This includes dog food, cat food, and bird feeders. It’s also suggested that you clean your grills.”
If you see the bear, stay clear, and immediately contact the Waverly Police Department at 740-947-2179.
Based on the description the Waverly Police officers gave to Ted Witham, Ohio Division of Wildlife Officer, of Jackson County, the bear was likely a young male yearling. Witham commended the police officers, telling them they did a good job pushing the bear out of town.
Witham said a yearling bear was recently spotted in the Minford area, and it is possible this could be the same bear.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife’s website offers the following about black bear encounters”
“What To Do If You Encounter a Bear
“Black bears are usually fearful of people, therefore bear attacks are a rare occurrence. Bears do not attack or kill children or pets as long as the bear is given its space and not cornered. The first thing to do when you see a bear is REMAIN CALM. Generally, black bears are non-aggressive and prefer to flee from the area as soon as they are aware of your presence. If you encounter a bear, and it is not aware of your presence, simply back away from the area slowly. If the bear is aware of your presence and it does not leave the area, avoid direct eye contact with the animal, give the bear an easy escape route and again, simply back slowly away from the area. Always avoid running or climbing trees, which may provoke a chase. An easy way to remember this is to be AWARE:
“Act calm and do not run.
“Warn the bear that you are near; talk in a firm, calm voice.
“Allow space between you and the bear. Step aside and back slowly away. Do not make the bear feel trapped or threatened.
“Raise your hands above your head to appear larger if the bear approaches. Clap your hands or shout to scare the bear away.
“Exit the area.”
The Ohio Division of Wildlife’s website also says that bears are rarely relocated. The Ohio Division of Wildlife does not relocate bears just because one is present in an area. Bears live in Ohio year round. They will continue to come back to a location if food sources are available to them. Hazing the bear off is the first step in dealing with nuisance bears. Black bears are only relocated if Division of Wildlife personnel determine the animal is in a situation where escape is unlikely, it is a threat to public safety, or a sociological conflict is probable.
Black bears are still listed as having an endangered status in Ohio. The state’s bear population is estimated at 50 to 100 individual bears.