Bears Seen Wandering Through Suburban Atlanta

1:49 PM, Sep 19, 2013   |    comments
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CUMMING, Ga. (WXIA) -- "I've heard for years there were bears in the area, but I always told people they were crazy," Jeff Adler said. "Then I saw them."

Adler was driving home from a restaurant near the intersection of Post and Major Roads near the Polo Golf Country Club neighborhood when he spotted an adult and two juvenile black bears climbing a fence into a backyard. He followed them through the neighborhood as they moved through several backyards.

"As I was trying to get ahead of them, I saw a guy working on sprinklers. When I told him the bears were coming, he looked at me like I was crazy," he said. "But then, he screamed: Here they come!"

Adler said he followed the bears from a safe distance in his car until they went into an area of the neighborhood without roads. He called 911, and was told they would contact the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

DNR spokesman Melissa Cummings told 11Alive's Julie Wolfe they currently have no plans to trap and remove bears in the area. They've been in touch with local authorities, but advised them to allow the bears to keep moving as they work their way to a more appropriate habitat.

To keep the bears moving, it's important people in the area take steps to make sure they don't unknowingly invite the bears to stay. They suggest the following tips:

- Do not feed or toss food to a bear
- Keep children away from the animal
- Keep pets indoors or in a controlled environment (remember, these bears can climb fences!)
- Do not approach a bear
- Never corner a bear
- Never run from a bear, back away slowly and make lots of noise

Cummings also said easily accessible garbage is irresistible to a hungry black bear. Homeowners in the area where the bears were spotted should consider security garbage containers inside the garage and putting them on the curb the morning of pickup instead of the night before.

"Ideally, you want the bear to keep moving," Cummings said. "So, by making any non-natural food sources unavailable and by not cornering the bear (up a tree or otherwise), the animal will keep moving until it is back in a more appropriate habitat."

Adler called the bear sighting a once in a lifetime experience: "I still can't believe it."

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