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Bear sightings reported in Kendall Park, Kingston

Eric Sucar

SOUTH BRUNSWICK — There have been two reports of bear sightings in the Kendall Park and Kingston areas of South Brunswick over the past week.

“It is important to understand that black bears reside in all 21 counties of New Jersey. The New Jersey Department of Environment Protection (DEP) advises that some residents may observe black bears using yards as part of their natural travel corridors. The mere presence of a black bear is not considered a problem. Generally, bears tend to be wary of people. It is important not to leave out any food or garbage that may encourage bears to linger in residential areas. One person feeding bears can create a problem bear that may affect the entire neighborhood,” according to a statement from the South Brunswick Police Department.

“Black bears learn very quickly, and bears that are fed intentionally or unintentionally by carelessly leaving out food or garbage will associate people with food. Bears will eat almost anything including human food, garbage, pet food, birdseed and small livestock. Once they find an easily accessible food source, like garbage in a housing development, they will lose their wariness of people and may return to the available food source,” the statement continued.

Police advise residents to never feed bears or instigate them by cornering them or throwing objects at them; to cover garbage cans with a secure lid; keep birdfeeders empty during bear season; and to immediately remove all uneaten food and food bowls used outside by pets.

If one should come in contact with a bear, remain calm and do not run; make sure the bear has an escape route; and avoid eye contact and back up slowly, the statement suggested.

To report a nuisance black bear, call the DEP’s 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1-877-WARN DEP (1-877-927-6337). Call 911 only if there is an immediate threat to a human or the bear attacks a pet.

For more information, visit www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearfacts.htm.

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