Black Bear Prompts State Park Closure in Wilmington - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Black Bear Prompts State Park Closure in Wilmington

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP/WRDE)- A bear has caused an uproar after running through the streets of Wilmington, Delaware.

Police spent part of Thursday morning trying to catch the animal as it ran through the busy Trolley Square neighborhood and later Brandywine Park area. Some neighbors were told to stay inside as police roped off streets. The bear was seen in backyards, climbing fences, and even running on railroad tracks.

The bear was later spotted in Alapocas Run State Park, prompting state officials to close it. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control asks people to report sightings of the bear by calling the Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police 24-hour dispatch line at 800-523-3336 to help track its movements and to help locate the bear to enable a proper response.

The bear also sparked the closure of the Nemours Estate, which cheekily wrote on Facebook, "bear with us."

As of Thursday night, the bear had not been captured. Wildlife officials planned to lure the bear to a trap with donuts. Earlier in the day, authorities tried to tranquilize the bear with a dart, but the dart apparently fell out.

DNREC says it's not unusual for black bears to be in Delaware, though this bear will be transported to a suitable out of state location within the bear's normal range if possible.

For residents in the area where the bear has been sighted, the Division of Fish & Wildlife advises taking the following precautions:

  • If you see the bear:

o   Do not approach, attempt to touch, feed, or shoot at the bear. Back away slowly – give it space. Go inside and wait for the bear to leave. Once inside, please contact Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police at 800-523-3336 to report the sighting.

o   Keep in mind, most bears fear people and will retreat when they see you.

  • Eliminate potential food sources that could attract the bear by cleaning or removing anything outdoors that may smell like food. This includes:

o   Locking garbage in a secure trash container, or keeping it inside until the day of pick-up.

o   Rinsing trash containers with ammonia to eliminate food odors.

o   Temporarily discontinuing the use of backyard compost piles.

o   Storing cooking grills inside or keeping them clean of food residue.

o   Temporarily removing birdfeeders - there are many wild food sources for birds during this time of year.

  • If you have animals, particularly dogs or cats:
    • Keep their food indoors. If animals are fed outdoors, only feed the animal what it will eat in one sitting to ensure that there is no food remaining.

o   Corral livestock close to buildings and use outdoor lighting at night.

o   If you have electric fencing, make sure it’s turned on to protect chicken coops, livestock nursery pens, etc. 

o   Promptly dispose of dead farm animals.

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