Bear sightings continue around Richmond and Columbia Counties

Monday, June 16, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga (WRDW) -- An unexpected visitor is showing up at houses in two counties.

A black bear is making its way around Richmond and Columbia Counties. In just the last twenty four hours, people have spotted the bear along Warren Road, at Taylor Hyundai in Augusta, and in someone's front yard on Kemp Road in Martinez.

DNR thinks this bear may be the same one spotted last week in McCormick County, because it would be very unusual to have more than one bear in the same urban area. They are calling this a transient bear, because he keeps moving around.

Carol Pearson was driving home around eight o'clock last night when a neighbor pulled her over.

"He said ma'am, ma'am I need to tell you, there's a bear in the yard," Pearson said.

Carol has lived in this house on Kemp Road for six years now, and that was a sight she never could have imagined.

"We've had coyotes and hawks and turtles and things like that but I never expected a bear would be here in these parts," Pearson said.

And she's not alone, others have spotted a black bear recently as well. Mike Gibson lives less than two miles away in the Willow Wick apartments off Warren Road. A neighbor spotted a bear in those woods early this morning.

"It's actually kinda neat knowing that it was in the backyard, but at the same time you want to be vigilant. I have two small dogs and I don't want them to wind up being lunch," he said.

Lee Taylor with DNR has been tracking the bear through the area, but they're also not sure why this one is sticking around. He said, "I couldn't tell you why it moved over here close to I-20 from where it was, we really expected it to go back to the Savannah River which is probably where it came from. So that's what we were expecting last night and sure enough it popped up again this morning over here."

For now, folks will be keeping a close eye on the area until the bear is gone.

DNR doesn't want you to be too concerned, they say the bear seems pretty docile and runs away when it sees people. They aren't setting traps for him because he's not causing any problems.

They really hope he'll just move on back into the woods. They do want to remind you not to feed the bear, directly or indirectly, so that means putting up your trash and your bird food. And in case anyone feels threatened, they can call Georgia Emergency Management. They can be reached at 1-800-241-4113.

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