Black bear spotted in Newark creek
Special from the Newark Post
— A black bear spotted in Newark on Thursday afternoon is believed to be heading north through White Clay Creek State Park, officials said.
Cpl. James Spadola, a spokesman for the Newark Police Department, said citizens spotted the bear near Paper Mill Road around 1 p.m., and it then traveled through backyards on Cleveland Avenue toward Kershaw Street. It was also spotted on White Clay Drive.
Lt. Brian Pollock, of DNREC Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police, said he personally saw the bear playing in White Clay Creek near Timothy’s, located at 100 Creek View Road off Paper Mill Road. It then headed upstream, he added.
The city of Newark sent a text message alert around 1 p.m. Thursday informing residents about the sighting and advising
them not to approach the bear. Around the same time, NPD and DNREC officers were on scene tracking the animal along White Clay Creek.
“We will let it be. It’s trying to get back to where it came from. We don’t want to keep pushing it,” Pollock said, adding that officials don’t want to pressure the bear to wander into residential areas.
Sgt. John McDerby, of Natural Resources Police, said his agency is hoping the bear continues through the park and into Pennsylvania, where it is assumed to have come from.
“It’s a good corridor for the bear to safely avoid human contact and get out of Delaware,” McDerby said, adding that the bear was likely resting in a wooded area of the park. “It was probably getting stressed out with all the activity down in Newark.”
He said wildlife officials stopped following the bear and will not attempt to interfere unless it gets closer to humans or develops a pattern, such as staying in one area. If that happens, DNREC will borrow a live bear trap from a neighboring state and attempt to catch and relocate the animal.
“Until it establishes a location, there’s not much we can do,” he said.
The first report of a bear came Tuesday night in the Ramsey Ridge neighborhood of Hockessin, according to New Castle County Police. It was seen again the following morning in the Wood Creek neighborhood of Pike Creek.
McDerby believes it was the same bear seen in Newark, but added there is no way to be sure. Bear sightings in Pennsylvania earlier this week are likely related, as well, he said.
He said this is the first bear sighting in Delaware since “Colonial times,” but added that it was not entirely unexpected.
“Over the last 10 years, they have slowly gotten closer to our area,” he said. “It wasn’t a question of if, but when.”
A citizen captured this photo of a bear near White Clay Creek in Newark.