A black bear spotted in Jacksonville is being monitored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Baltimore County Police Department.
Ken D'Loughy, regional manager for the Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service—an office within the Department of Natural Resources—said it's not surprising to see young male black bears traveling around during the warmer months looking to mark their territory. He said the animals aren't seen too often in Baltimore County but sightings are common in Garrett and Alleghany counties, which have residential black bear populations.
"Black bears, especially these [young ones], are not aggressive," he said.
D'Loughy said black bears aren't dangerous and residents should—as with any wild animal—give them space until they move on.
"I would advise people to make sure their trash cans, grills and bird feeders are secure," he said. "The bears may get into those."
The Department of Natural Resources is leading an effort in conjunction with the Baltimore County Police Department to track the Jacksonville bear.
"We keep track of the sightings and see where it's traveling," D'Loughy said.
Police have already fielded several calls regarding the animal.
"The bear will not be shot," said Susan Hunt, a police spokeswoman. "There are no plans to euthanize it or tranquilize it. We're working on protecting it and the community."
David Moxley, captain of the Cockeysville precinct—which covers Jacksonville— said residents have called in about sightings over the past few days. He added that callers said the bear was small in stature.
Sgt. Dan Baumiller, also with the Cockeysville precinct, said officers have seen and taken photos of the bears.
Still, buzz about the animal has some locals concerned.
Sharon Kuehne, a Jacksonville resident, told Patch in an email that she discovered the bear in her backyard at around 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning. She said the creature ate her birdseed, walked onto her deck and drank from her birdbath.
"Shouldn’t we as residents in the sighting area be alerted?" Kuehne wrote in the email.
Ellie Burns, a Jacksonville resident, said she found out about the bear when an EMT from the Jacksonville Fire Department stopped by her workplace—Albright's Farm—and warned the employees that the animal was in the area.
"I was quite concerned because we sell fish, fruit, vegetables and flowers—all a great snack for a hungry cub," Burns said. "I will now be more alert of my surroundings until the bear leaves the area. This is the first time I have ever heard of a bear in the area and I have lived in Jacksonville all my life."
Earlier Thursday morning, Burns wrote on her Twitter account @ellie1331 "black bear sighting in Jacksonville, good thing I'm working outside all day #scared."
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Editor's Note: Initially this story reported police had not seen the bear. However, police had in fact seen and photographed the animal, but the officer speaking to Patch was unaware of that.