The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Fairfax County, VA - Police Received Two Reports of Black Bear Sightings in the Vienna/Oakton Area

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Fairfax County, VA - Police Received Two Reports of Black Bear Sightings in the Vienna/Oakton Area

Fairfax County, Virginia - Police received two reports of black bear sightings in the Vienna/Oakton area between Wednesday and Thursday morning, the Fairfax County Police Department said. This follows an earlier sighting of a black bear and a cub in Vienna on Sunday, March 20. 

According to police, a black bear and a cub (possibly a yearling) were spotted in the 2700 block of Bowling Green Dr., Vienna Thursday morning. Police say a residence in the area reported the spotting. In a press release sent out Thursday police said, "The bears were reported to have taken down a bird-feeder and plastic cabinet on the resident's patio. The bears also took a bag of birdseed from the cabinet before heading into the wooded easement along Interstate-66."

On Wednesday morning police also received reports of two small black bears seen crossing Oakton Road. Police say the bears were spotted near Waples Mill Meadow, Difficult Run Stream Valley Park and Tattersall Park.

Police said in the release, "Bears typically avoid humans, but in their search for food it is not uncommon to see one. Residents should not panic or feel alarmed when they see one. Bears are attracted by bird feeders, garbage, outdoor pet food, compost piles, fruit trees, and berry-producing shrubs. If addressed quickly, situations can be resolved almost immediately by removing the food source. Sometimes, the bear may return searching for food, but after a few failed attempts to find it, will leave the property. Most often, bears will keep moving through an area once they fail in their attempts to find food."

The Fairfax County Wildlife management Specialist and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries give the following suggestions as precautions if encountered by a black bear:

  • Keep a respectful distance! In most cases, the bear will move on quickly.
  • If a bear is up a tree on or near your property, give it space. Do not approach, and bring your pets inside to provide the bear a clear path to leave your property.
  • If you see a very small cub, do not try to remove it from the area or "save it."
  • The best way to encourage the bear not to return is to remove food sources.
  • Do not store household trash, or anything that smells like food, in vehicles, on porches or decks.
  • Keep your full or empty trash containers secured in a garage, shed or basement.
  • Take your garbage to the dump frequently.
  • If you have a trash collection service, put your trash out the morning of the pickup, not the night before.
  • Take down your birdfeeder for 3-4 weeks after the bear visits.
  • Encourage your neighbors to take similar precautions.
  • Unless the animal is sick or injured, or poses a threat to public safety, Animal Control Officers do not take actions to attempt to remove bears from a neighborhood.

Police say bear sightings should be reported to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries through the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline at (855) 571-9003.

For more information on bear sightings and how to respond safely click HERE. 


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