Fairfax County police received the first seasonal reports of bear sightings in Fairfax County on Saturday, April 26 in Vienna. A bear was reportedly struck on the Dulles Toll Road; then a resident called around noon, reporting a bear in his backyard in the 1600 block of Fremont Lane, just behind the busy roadway. Officers do not know whether or not this bear was the one that was struck.
According to Animal Control Officers, it’s not unusual to see black bears this time of year, and residents shouldn’t panic or feel alarmed when they see one. It’s likely that this bear has already moved through the area. Bears typically avoid humans; but in their search for food, it’s not uncommon to see one. Most often, bears will keep moving through an area once they fail in their attempts to find food.
Unless the animal is sick, injured or poses a threat to public safety, animal control officers don’t try to remove bears from a neighborhood. Black bears have a natural fear of humans and, in most cases, would rather flee than encounter people.
If addressed quickly, wildlife issues caused by food attractants in yards can be resolved almost immediately. Take the following precautions to keep bears and other wildlife away from your home:
• Don’t store trash on porches, decks or in vehicles.
• If a bear is sighted in your neighborhood, remove birdfeeders.
• Take garbage to the curb on the morning of pickup, rather than the night before.
• Consider installing electric fencing around gardens, dumpsters and other potential wildlife sources. Electric fencing is an inexpensive and efficient proven deterrent against bears.