Another black bear sighted in Virginia Beach

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on June 10, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 12 at 7:06 AM

UPDATE 6/11: Police say the bear was found and tranquilized around noon on Wednesday near I-264 and Birdneck Road.
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VIRGINIA BEACH -- For the second time in less than a week, a black bear has been sighted in Virginia Beach.

A call was made to dispatchers at 6 a.m. after someone spotted a bear in the 1400 block of Old Virginia Beach Road, near Interstate 264.  Animal control responded but didn't find the animal.

Neighbors say they were surprised by all the officers looking for the bear.

"I looked out my window and saw all these policemen," Penny Butts said.  "I didn't know what was going on."

Officials say the bear was frightened and ran away before animal control could capture it, but they expect it to reappear sometime soon.

Residents told 13News Now they've never seen a bear in their neighborhood.

"Just on television -- not personally," Butts said.

Last week, a baby black bear made its way to a neighborhood off Shore Drive and up a tree.

Bear spotted off Shore Drive in Virginia Beach

The bear was shot with a tranquilizer and taken into custody.  It has since been released in a non-populated area of Virginia, officials told 13News Now.

State Biologist Pete Acker said when the animals run it's out of fear.

"Really they're docile, they're scared of people. They're just looking for a place to call home," Acker said.

He says it is very rare to see two bears in such a short amount of time.

"95 percent of the time when we get bears that turn up in these odd places -- like a neighborhood -- it's going to  be a small, yearling male.  They'll live with their mom for a year and a half, and then when she prepares to breed again, she kicks them out," Acker said.

Data shows the bear population statewide is growing 7 percent each year, according to Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries.

There are about 18,000 black bears in the state of Virginia. The Great Dismal Swamp has an estimated one bear per square mile.

Tips to deter bears:

Do not store household trash, or anything that smells like food, in vehicles, on porches or decks.
Keep your full or empty trash containers secured in a garage, shed or basement.
If you have a trash collection service, put your trash out the morning of the pickup, not the night before. Otherwise, take garbage to the dump frequently.
Take down your birdfeeder and keep it down for 3-4 weeks after the bear visits. It may return looking for food, but likely won’t return after a few failed attempts to find it.
Consider installing electric fencing, an inexpensive and extremely efficient proven deterrent to bears, around dumpsters, gardens, beehives, or other potential food sources. 

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