Over the weekend, numerous Lowell area residents called 911 to report seeing a black bear roaming their neighborhood. The bear was not aggressive, but residents are cautioned to give it space. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has been contacted and they say bears tend to avoid humans, but may become aggressive while searching for food. Bears are opportunistic and eat trash, bird seed and pet food. Bears expend a great amount of energy digging under, breaking down or crawling over barriers to get food. The best way to protect your family is to stay away from bears, don’t feed them, feed your pets indoors, and manage your garbage by keeping trash in cans with the lid tightly closed and secure.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife gives the following advice if you come in close contact with a bear:
- Stop, remain calm, and assess the situation. If the bear seems unaware of you, move away quietly when it’s not looking in your direction. Continue to observe the animal as you retreat, watching for changes in its behavior.
- If a bear walks toward you, identify yourself as a human by standing up, waving your hands above your head, and talking to the bear in a low voice.
- Don’t throw anything at the bear. The bear could interpret that as a threat or a challenge.
- If you cannot safely move away from the bear or the bear continues toward you, scare it away by clapping your hands, stomping your feet, yelling, and staring the animal in the eyes. If you are in a group, stand shoulder-to shoulder and raise and wave your arms to appear intimidating. The more it persists the more aggressive your response should be. If you have bear spray, use it.
- Do not run from the bear. Bears can run up to 35 mph and running may trigger an attack. Climbing a tree is also not recommended.
Tell neighbors about this community concern and call 911 if the bear becomes aggressive.