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Reports of bear sightings in Fairfax County

Fairfax County Police has gotten reports of several bear sightings. (Source: Fairfax County Police Department)

FAIRFAX CO., VA —  The Fairfax County Police Department is issuing a warning about a bear sightings in the area. In a Facebook post the department says since spring, they’ve gotten several reports of bears wandering parks and residential neighborhoods around the county.

Most recently bears were spotted in the Roberts Road and Sideburn Road.

The department says bears typically avoid humans, but may wander into suburban areas in their search for food. The department says conflicts with bears can be avoided by removing “unnatural food sources” such as birdfeeders, garbage, composite piles, fruit trees, pet food left outside.

 

If you encounter a bear, the police department says not to approach it instead back away slowly and make sure you have an escape route.  However, if you hear a bear huff or “woofs,” its a warning you are too close.

Here are some tips from the Fairfax County Wildlife Management Specialist and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries:

•Keep a respectful distance. In most cases, the bear will move on quickly.
•Bring your pets inside to provide the bear a clear path to leave your property.
•If you see a very small cub, do not try to remove it from the area or “save it.”
•Secure your garbage in bear-resistant trash cans or store it in a secure building.
•If you have a trash collection service, put your trash out the morning of the pickup, not the night before.
•Do not store household trash, or anything that smells like food, in vehicles, on porches or decks.
•Keep your grill clean.
•Don’t put meat scraps in your compost pile.
•Don’t leave pet food outdoors.
•Remove bird feeders if a bear is in the area.
•Encourage your neighbors to take similar precautions.

Keep in mind that in the state of Virginia it is illegal to feed bears in public and private lands.

Bear sightings should be reported to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries through the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline at (855) 571-9003 or to the Animal Protection Police by calling the police non-emergency number: 703-691-2131.