WAVERLY (WCMH) — A black bear was spotted in Waverly on Friday and was briefly pursued by the police department until it returned home.
The bear was seen in the area of 7th Street and wandered toward Beverly Avenue, police said.
Police initially urged residents to remain inside, but after the bear returned home officials said “citizens are clear to return to their daily activities.”
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is, however, urging Waverly residents not leave food outside for the next 48 hours, including dog and cat food, and bird feeders.
Resident Connie Putnam said she was initially a little worried about her dog chasing after the bear, adding that wildlife sightings like this are all a part of living in Pike County.
“A little excitement for the day,” she said.
ODNR also suggested residents clean their grills.
Waverly police posted multiple messages about the bear on Facebook, saying ODNR was en route to the area.
Waverly police say residents are not in danger but asked resident to stay inside because those outside are scaring the bear.
“When citizens come out it’s scaring the poor fella & making it harder to keep the bear contained,” police said in a Facebook post.
Waverly resident Sonja Caplinger said that while wildlife in the area isn’t all that unusual, a black bear certainly is.
“Well we have skunks in the neighborhood and we thought that was pretty bad, but a bear is not the usual thing,” she said. “We’ve seen deer in the village before, but that’s the first bear I’ve seen.”
She added, “Pike County has Black Bears out in the county, but it has always been out of the town, but today, it was in the village.”
The black bear sighting comes after ODNR announced in May black bear sightings are expected to increase this summer.
According to the ODNR Facebook page, summer is a peak time for black bears to begin moving and dispersing young black bears will sometimes travel long distances in order to find a new habitat.
With the recent increase of black bears in Ohio, officials say humans will be now be more likely to see them during their movement.
“Moving bird feeders higher, removing uneaten pet food, keeping trash inside until pick up day, and cleaning up after grilling all help to deter bears from frequenting an area and becoming nuisances,” the ODNR wrote in the Facebook post.
ODNR officials ask anyone who sees a black bear to contact their local division office but to always leave the bear alone.