A bear-y unique visitor
‘Dela Bear’ captivates Newarkers
The black bear that captivated Newarkers last week is continuing to head west in Maryland.
As of Wednesday, the animal – which has been dubbed “Dela Bear” and even has its own Twitter account – was last seen near Aberdeen Proving Ground, authorities said.
The first report of a bear in Delaware came May 17 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.
By May 19, the bear had migrated to Newark, and midday sightings in a student-heavy part of town prompted a flurry of 911 calls and drew dozens of curious onlookers to the banks of the White Clay Creek.
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 to residents about the sighting and advised 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 while congregating with other officers in Curtis Mill Park, adding that officials don’t want to pressure the bear to wander into res- idential areas.
Sgt. John McDerby, of Natural Resources Police, said May 19 his agency was hoping the bear continued through White Clay Creek State 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 “It was probably getting stressed out with all the activity down in Newark.”
However, it appears the bear did not continue into Pennsylvania.
McDerby said more sightings were reported late May 19 in the area of Ray Street. The bear was also seen near the Nottingham Green neighborhood, according to City Manager Carol Houck.
The following day, Friday, May 20, the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office sent an alert to residents stating that the bear was seen at approximately 8 p.m. near the intersection of Route 213 and Ricketts Mill Road, north of Elkton. That location is approximately 6 miles southwest of the sightings in Newark.
The sheriff’s office also posted a video shot by a cit- izen of the bear exploring a wooded area near a road.
“It’s not being aggressive, so we’re not going to do anything,” said Lt. Michael Holmes, spokesman for the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office. “Deputies and Elkton police got a visual. He went back into the wood line.”
By Sunday, the bear had reached Perryville, a small Susquehanna River town located approximately 20 miles southwest of Newark.
Officials believe the sightings are all the same bear, but cautioned there is no way to be sure. Bear sightings in Pennsylvania earlier last week are likely related, as well.
McDerby said this is the first known instance of a bear 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.”
Reporters Karie Simmons and Jane Bellmyer contributed to this article.