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If you see a bear…

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A black bear was spotted in Montgomery County in Hatfield Township near Rt. 309 on Monday evening. Another black bear was captured by the Pennsylvania Game Commission on May 4 in Clifton Heights in Delaware County and relocated to a less populated area. The DelCo bear had been spotted in Montgomery and Chester Counties as well, apparently having wandered down Darby Creek.

Black bears have been growing more common in recent decades according to hunting data from the Game Commission.

Mother bears kick young male bears out when they approach maturity, and these young males often wander long distances in search of a home to call their own. One such wanderer was picked up by the Game Commission in Philadelphia’s Andorra neighborhood in June of 2019 and relocated back to the mountains.

Although bears are only occasional visitors to the Philadelphia area, they are common in much of the rest of Pennsylvania, where they can cause problems for humans by damaging crops and raiding trash (think of that next time you complain about Philly’s raccoons).

Bear attacks on humans are exceedingly rare, and encounters usually end with the bear sprinting away from the human. If you see a bear, the Game Commission advises making some noise to alert the bear to your presence and backing away slowly if the bear doesn’t immediately run away.

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