HILLSBOROUGH — If you see a black bear lumbering along U.S. 70, don’t stop to feed it, Orange County Emergency Services director Jim Groves says.
Emergency services got three reports of black-bear sighting over the weekend, and another just before noon Tuesday, Groves said. They aren’t sure if it’s one bear or several, he said.
The bears were spotted at U.S. 70 and Lawrence Road, U.S. 70 and Churton Street, and Churton and Mayo streets, just blocks from downtown Hillsborough. Emergency personnel are looking for the bear and will take a picture if they find it, Groves said.
While Groves said sightings are unusual in Orange County, quite a few bears have been reported across the Triangle in the last few years. He recommended people enjoy watching them but stay away and call 911. Feeding black bears is always a bad idea, he said.
The most recent black-bear sightings were reported in Raleigh One bear, thought to have been hit by a car, was found dead in April on N.C. State University’s campus. The other wandered through Raleigh’s Five Points neighborhood earlier this month.
Last year, Durham officials reported a black bear on Duke University’s campus, and in 2011, Chapel Hill officials tracked one near Finley Golf Course.
Wildlife officials aren’t likely to do anything unless the bear threatens people, Groves said. The bears generally stick to themselves, he said.
“If you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone,” he said.