After an early morning bear sighting on Tuesday, state wildlife officers say no additional sightings have been reported in Charlotte.
Instead of being greeted by the bus at the bus stop Tuesday morning, a 16-year-old girl in north Charlotte says two bears were waiting for her. The teen says she was chased by the bears before making it safely back to her parents home.
Officers from CMPD's Animal Care and Control unit as well as NC Wildlife officers responded to Forest Cross Drive to investigate after the girls mother called for help.
The 16-year-old said she was first person to see the bears. She told WBTV they came out of the woods and started making their way toward her.
"I saw two bears and it startled me," she said. "When I started running home they started chasing me."
She said she didn't scream but got home as fast as she could, then called animal control.
Police say an alert was sent out to area residents cautioning them to be on the lookout.
"I'm seriously afraid," said Kevin Carter, who lives nearby. "I always check out my backdoor first before I go out and empty my trash because this is a wooded neighborhood."
Carter's neighbor, Louie Jefferson, searched for food left outside and secured his trash cans after police and animal control left the area.
"This is the first time a bear has appeared here," said Jefferson, who says the neighborhood is like a wildlife preserve.
He said he's seen copperheads, foxes, coyotes and deer crossing over neighborhood streets in the past.
"My house is nothing but woods so there is all type of animals coming through here," he said. "If these animals come back it's because of the food."
Wildlife Biologists in North Carolina say Black Bears are doing well in North Carolina. In a statement, they say as bear populations continue to expand into more and more areas, it is ultimately human attitudes toward bears that will determine whether bears will continue to exist in the state.
Experts say "it is increasingly common for residents throughout North Carolina to encounter black bears, especially during the months of May through July."
Rupert Medford, a biologist with NC Wildlife Resources Commission for Mecklenburg County says that it is common for male bears to “travel” at this time of year when they enter into their breeding season.
The smaller bears (2 to 3 years old and @ 100 to 150 lbs) get pushed out of their home habitat during the breeding season by larger male bears.
The smaller male bears look for an area that has all of the things they need to sustain life.
They will not remain in an area that doesn’t have a population of female bears though, Medford says.
Mecklenburg County does not have a bear hunting season, as is common with most of the counties in North Carolina's central piedmont region.
It is illegal to kill a black bear in the state of North Carolina outside of hunting season.
Local animal control officials say bears are not usually dangerous, unless you feed them or provoke them. Their advice is to stay calm and keep your distance.
If you are close, back away slowly and make lots of noise.
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