Bears, oh my! We haven't many lions and tigers in the Wayne/Pike county area, although every so often a rash of suspected mountain lion reports surface. Bears, on the other paw, are a firmly established part of our wildlife population.
We share the land with them. Black bears were definitely here first; their ancestors, like that of all other native fauna, date far before even the arrival of Native Americans. They never fail to capture our imagination, sometimes our fears, always our curiosity.
Who can drive along and see a bear run across the road without telling someone about it later?
We should all have fascination and delight for the animal world.
Of course we have to be careful. As the PA Game Commission reminds us, bears and the other animals of the forest are wild. They are not pets and therefore should be treated with healthy respect. Do NOT even consider feeding bears. They will get used to your hand-out, less reliant on nature's banquet and likely become a nuisance or even a menace if they come by for their snack and you are not there.
Lately we have had reports of a black bear in Hawley. Last Monday morning, Janet Deluca witnessed a black bear in her Marble Hill neighborhood on Columbus Avenue. There was another report of a black bear seen in the PNC parking lot at about 5:30 a.m.
It's hard to beat the summer of 1986 when a black bear was seen in broad daylight safely crossing right through town. Pictures were taken of the bear as it walked up the sidewalk on Main Avenue past stores. The News Eagle carried one of these pictures on the front page.
They are more likely to be seen in the spring as they come out of hibernation looking for food.
The PA Game Commission has issued the following advice to help us all co-exist with these amazing animals.
HOW TO AVOID BEAR CONFLICTS
1. Don’t feed them
2. Keep garbage, pet food, bird seed out of reach
3. Shout, walk inside slowly
4. Ask neighbors to cooperate
5. Cautiously check why pets are upset
IF YOU MEET A BEAR
1. Stay calm
2. Walk back slowly
3. Wave, shout
4. Fight back if attacked.