PORTSMOUTH - So far this summer, bears sightings have been reported in Chesapeake, Suffolk and Portsmouth.
“It’s not a good place for a bear, but there is not much we can do," Aaron Proctor with Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries said.
On Wednesday, several people called wildlife officials about spotting two bears in the Churchland area of Portsmouth, specifically on River Shore Road. It was first spotted running across the road around 5:20 p.m. Nearly an hour later, S. Riyahd Moten reported seeing it on school grounds.
Moten posted a photo of the bear on the WVEC13 Facebook page and wrote, "At approximately 6 p.m. while traveling into my Churchland neighborhood, my wife and I noticed from a good distance what appeared to be a very large and fluffy dog run out in front of a large grey truck. As the animal moved out of the street and into the field in front of Churchland Elementary School, we noticed that it didn't run much like a dog. I quickly grabbed my camera, but was only able to snap off a couple of shots before it disappeared into the wooded area behind Churchland elementary school. "
On June 19, a bear cup was up a tree on Pleasant Woods Court.
Data shows the bear population statewide is growing 7 percent each year, according to Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries. Some of that increase is due to triplet cubs, which is rare.
“If female black bears are having triplets, that means the breeding conditions are good. That means fruits like acorns, blackberries are plentiful,” Proctor explained.
There are about 18,000 black bears in the state of Virginia. The Great Dismal Swamp has an estimated one bear per square mile.