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PRINCETON: Black bear sighted near the Hun School

By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
The Princeton Police Department is cautioning residents to be aware of the presence of black bears in town, following the sighting of a black bear near the Hun School.
No students were present when the black bear was observed, police said. It is not uncommon to observe a bear near homes – the Hun School is located in a residential neighborhood – although they are mostly seen in wooded areas.
While bears tend to be wary of humans, it is important not to tempt bears to linger in residential areas by leaving out food or garbage that is readily accessible by the bears. It is illegal to feed bears in New Jersey.
Garbage should be placed in secure containers that have a tight-fitting lid. If possible, store the garbage containers inside the walls of the garage or in the basement, or in a sturdy shed. They should be put out on the day of collection, not the night before.
Police also advised cleaning up after pets and if they are fed outdoors, and to do so during the daytime. Leftover food should be removed immediately after the pet has finished eating.
Outdoor grills and utensils should be cleaned immediately after each use, and stored in a secure area. Grease and food residue attract bears. Fruits or nuts that fall from trees should be picked up and put inside garbage containers with tight-fitting lids.
Despite all precautions, if a bear is encountered, do not approach it. Stay calm and make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in a calm, assertive voice. Make sure the bear has an escape route.
If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It is usually not a threatening behavior.
But if the bear huffs, or makes popping noises by snapping its jaws and swatting the ground, these are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away and avoid eye contact. Do not run.

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