ALTAVISTA, Va. – The Altavista Police Department is warning people to be on the lookout for bears.
Already this spring, the department has received multiple calls about black bears wandering around residential areas.
One was spotted on camera digging through someone’s trash on Tuesday.
Wildlife experts said it’s not unusual to see them wandering away from home during this time of year as they are starting to come out of dens in search of food that’s not yet available on their landscape.
If you do cross paths with a bear, you should never run away. Instead, make yourself big and known. Then, slowly back away.
However, there are a few things you can do to stop the four-legged creatures from arriving at your doorstep in the first place.
“Bears have a tremendous sense of smell. They can smell from over a mile away,” District Wildlife Biologist Sarah Peltier said. “That can be bird feed, it can be your garbage can, cat food or dog food left outside. It’s important that you remove and secure those items so that a bear doesn’t have a reason to want to come close.”
If you see a bear in your neck of the woods and have questions, you should give your local department of wildlife resources a call.