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Bear spotting puts North Raleigh community on alert

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A bear was spotted Sunday on a greenway near London Bell Drive in North Raleigh. (Steve Sbraccia, WNCN) A bear was spotted Sunday on a greenway near London Bell Drive in North Raleigh. (Steve Sbraccia, WNCN)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

An unusual alert was issued by Raleigh Police Sunday, warning folks in North Raleigh to be on the lookout for a bear.

What residents describe as a black bear was spotted roaming through the Wakefield Pines area Sunday morning.

Word of the police alert took some people in the area by surprise.

"That's insane -- a bear?," said resident Laura Kelley. "I don't even know where a bear would come from around here.".

On a greenway near London Bell Drive WNCN's Steve Sbraccia was shown a large track with claw marks in the mud discovered by a man walking his dog.

Stephen Rezac said he thought they might be bear tracks and he was "A little surprised," by the discovery.

"I wouldn't think they'd be here."

The tracks pointed in the direction of a nearby neighborhood where one man said he spotted the creature loping across his property.

"I saw out of the corner of my eye a black bear waking through my yard," Bob Door said. "I made sure that's what I was seeing because that's not what I would have expected to see.

The bear had to climb a four-foot fence with spiked tops to get into Door's yard. He then had to climb over the rest of the fence on the other side of the yard to leave.

Door said the bear vaulted the fence with ease.

"He had a very intent gait," Door explained. "He passed through the neighbor's yard and I don't know where he went from there but he wasn't hanging around looking for anything."

This is not the first time a bear's been spotted roaming an urban setting. A year ago, a black bear was photographed by a police dash-cam loping through a Hope Mills neighborhood.

Although no one in North Raleigh has any pictures of the bear there, some are taking precautions.
 
"Considering I have small children who might be nice bear food for breakfast, I think I'll probably make sure they stay in a little closer to the house today," said Laura Kelley.

Others aren't fretting.

"I'm not worried about it, said resident Jake Merzigian.

Asked if he would take bear precautions, he said, "Not at this stage."

Meanwhile, officials are warning people if they see the bear they should not approach it or try to get its attention.

They advise people to the bear be and call 911 to get animal control out to the area if necessary.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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