SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ(CBSNewYork) — Bears have moved into a neighborhood in Sussex County, New Jersey and it does not look like they plan on leaving any time soon.
Maria Mason told CBS 2’s Emily Smith that the unwanted guests have caused her to change her daily routine.
“I used to walk back and forth, there’s a pool facility at the end. I used to walk up and down three or four times a day, now I won’t walk unescorted,” she said.
The issue isn’t only a problem for residents, but also for workers who have to clean up after them.
“The bears are constantly going in the garbage, throwing garbage around. It’s a little scary,” said Howard Greenblatt.
The bear population in Northwest New Jersey is the densest in the state with at least 3,300 living in the area according to the Department of Environmental Protection. Residents told CBS 2 that at times it feels like they are living in the jungle.
“Just the other day I was unloading my car and the next thing I knew this big 400 lbs bear was walking by me, its gotten crazy,” said Kevin Curry.
Residents said that they want the bears removed but the DEP isn’t budging. The DEP told CBS 2 that they only remove bears that have gotten violent. Officials suggest that residents learn to coexist with the bears.
The DEP recommends that if a person encounters a bear they do the following:
– Avoid direct eye contact.
– Try to scare it away with loud noises like banging on pans or an air-horn.
– If a bear starts making huffing noises back away and give it an escape route, do not run.
Greenblatt said that the neighborhood has exhausted those options.
“They tell you to either blow the whistle or a horn. The horns don’t work anymore, the whistle don’t work,” he said.
Bear attacks are rare, according to the DEP. To reduce the likelihood of an attack they suggest that you keep garbage inside of your garage, avoid using bird feeders, and always clean your grill after using it.
If you are attacked by a bear the DEP said that you should fight back.
Have you ever encountered a bear? Share your experience in our comments section below…