There’s a hungry black bear roaming around parts of Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A black bear is looking for food in the West Neck and Indian River Road neighborhoods of Virginia Beach.

One WAVY viewer, Donald Brown, captured images Friday morning of what looks like a black bear roaming on Potters Road in the city.

“I stopped my vehicle and took my phone out to get better footage and at this point the bear jumped in front of my vehicle,” said Brown. “I thought it was a dog at first, but then I thought a dog wasn’t going to be that chunky.”

Biologist Peter Acker with Game and Inland Fisheries says he’s getting a handful of calls a day about Virginia Beach sightings.

“It’s nothing new on a statewide basis. It’s really nothing new on a regional basis but it is new for that neighborhood and those residents,” said Acker. “Folks will tell me that there are children in the neighborhood or elderly people and that’s fine, we’ve never had an unprovoked bear attack in Virginia, they are just not any more dangerous than other wildlife species.”

Animal Control: It’s ‘completely normal’ to see bears in Virginia Beach

City officials posted tips on Facebook to keep your family and your pets safe.

  • First, take down your bird feeders. It’s best not to put bird food out from April through November. Instead, you can plant native seed-bearing plants or use water features to attract birds to your yard.
  • Store your trash inside, in a shed, a garage or in a bear-proof container. Put garbage out on the morning of pickup — not the night before — or take it to the dump often.
  • Pick up your pet food or feed pets only what they will eat in a single sitting. You can also feed pets indoors. Make sure to pick up any uneaten food and don’t leave any food out overnight.
  • Don’t put meat scraps in the compost pile and keep your compost away from the house.
  • Pick up ripe fruit that falls from fruit trees and the surrounding area.
  • Clean the grill often and don’t dump the drippings in your yard. You should run the grill an extra five minutes to burn off grease.
  • Don’t store food, freezers, refrigerators or trash on porches.

If you see a bear, enjoy watching it from a safe distance. If you get close to a bear, back away slowly and remember: Bears have a natural distrust of humans. They will run when given a safe escape route.

If a bear is up in a tree, leave it alone and keep people and pets away from the tree to allow the bear to get away.

It’s illegal to place or allow food to be put out to feed or attract bears.

If you have an emergency, call 911. If you need an animal control officer, dial the non-emergency number, 385-5000.