Black bear spot­ted in Newark creek

Cecil Whig - - REGIONAL - By KARIE SIM­MONS and JOSH SHAN­NON

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

NEWARK, DEL.

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.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF DNREC

A cit­i­zen cap­tured this photo of a bear near White Clay Creek in Newark.

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