Bears are on the move through Fairfax County and should be left alone to do their thing, according to Fairfax County police.
Police said Monday that they received their first seasonal reports of bear sightings in Fairfax County over the weekend. Police said a bear was reportedly struck on the Dulles Toll Road sometime before noon on Saturday; then a Vienna resident soon reported a bear in his backyard in the 1600 block of Fremont Lane, located just behind the busy roadway. Police said they are not sure whether or not both sightings were of the same bear.
According to Animal Control Officers, it is not unusual to see black bears at this time of year and residents should not panic or feel alarmed when they see one. It is likely, they say, that the reported bear has already moved through the area.
Police say bears typically avoid humans, but in their search for food it is not uncommon to see one.
“Most often, bears will keep moving through an area once they fail in their attempts to find food. Unless the animal is sick or injured, or poses a threat to public safety, animal control officers do not take actions to attempt to remove bears from a neighborhood. Black bears have a natural fear of humans, and in most cases, would rather flee than encounter people,” said police spokesperson Lucy Caldwell.
Police offer the following precautions to keep bears and other wildlife away from your home:
• Do not store trash on porches, decks or in vehicles.
• If a bear is sighted in your neighborhood, remove birdfeeders.
• Take garbage to the curb on the morning of pickup, rather than the night before.
• Consider installing electric fencing around gardens, dumpsters and other potential wildlife sources Electric fencing is an inexpensive and efficient proven deterrent against bears.