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Be a good neighBear

A bear walks through a yard in the Congdon Park neighborhood on Tuesday, Aug. 4. (Photo by Judy Rogers)1 / 2
Peggy and Farzad Farr discovered a bear as they walked in a park in Duluth last Sunday. (Screenshot from Peggy Farr Facebook video by Farzed Farr)2 / 2

This week there have been reports of a bear or bears walking around town in the eastern part of Duluth.

On Tuesday, Aug. 4, Judy Rogers snapped this photo of a bear walking by her home on Rustwood Lane. Rogers said the postal carrier was delivering mail at the time. Rogers advised her to stay in her vehicle and that the bear would soon be gone.

Rogers also was concerned about any neighborhood children who might be outside playing, unaware that there was a bear in the immediate area.

Rogers said the bear looked like it was moving in the direction of the Northland Country Club. When she first saw the bear she suspected it was pregnant because its belly was so low to the ground. But this is not the time for bears to be pregnant, as most give birth during hibernation.

After consulting with her son, who shared it on social media with his big-game hunting friends, they decided that the bear was a male, a boar, because of the size of the head and and the shape of the ears.

Roger's husband, Earl, said the bear was the largest he had ever seen. He estimates it weighs about 425 pounds. He went outside to warn neighborhood children riding bikes to stay indoors until the bear left.

Advice from the DNR

So what should you do if you see a bear in your neighborhood? "First of all, don't panic," said Nancy Hansen, a Department of Natural Resources official in Two Harbors. "You don't need to shoot it. There is no need to approach it. You can give yourself the illusion of being larger and make some noise. Wave your hands up in the air. Most bears are polite enough and they will leave."

Hansen said bears are very good learners and if they learn there are food sources in your neighborhood, they will return. "If you choose to feed birds, take (birdfeeders) down and put them away," Hansen said. She added that placing the feeders in a screened-in porch is not considered "put away."

"Bears generally don't want anything to do with people," Hansen said. "If a bear woofs at you or snaps its jaws, it's letting you know you are too close."

Hansen advises that if you suspect a bear in your yard at night, turn on a yard light and before you open the door, announce yourself by shouting "Hey bear!"

Hansen said Duluth has acres of wooded and undeveloped land along its streams, which is attractive for wildlife and it's bears' nature to be in the undeveloped land.

Advice from the Duluth Police Department

Ron Tinsley, Duluth Police Department public information officer, said that homeowners and individuals who see a bear are advised to stay indoors and leave the bear alone in hopes that it will return to the wilderness. Tinsley said that police will respond to a 911 call to assess the situation and make sure it isn't a public safety threat. And example of a public safety threat would be a bear in a dumpster near a school with children around.

Advice from Wildwoods Rehabilitation

On Sunday, Aug. 2, Peggy and Farzad Farr saw a bear as they were walking in a Duluth city park. Peggy posted a video of it on her Facebook page, but when contacted by the Budgeteer, she declined to give the exact location for fear that humans might harass the bear. She did confirm that it was in the eastern part of Duluth.

Farzad is the executive director of Wildwoods, a nonprofit which rehabilitates wildlife. Peggy serves on the board and is an active Wildwoods volunteer. If you are a regular reader of the Budgeteer, you probably have seen the columns by members of the organization. (See page B3.)

"As we watched in delight, the only possible potential conflict that we foresaw was right-of-way," Peggy wrote on Facebook. "So we averted our eyes and stepped far aside to let the bear pass. And he did, then continued on his way up the trail."

"I just think it behooves us to be responsible neighbors," Peggy told the Budgeteer. She said the if humans were wandering around and discovered a buffet dinner, they most likely would be back the next day for more.

Peggy says there are no "problem bears," only "problem feeders." She advises neighbors not to feed birds in the summer to prevent bears from wandering your neighborhood and becoming a "problem bear."

""Bears are smart," Peggy said. "Once you've rewarded them with a food reward, they will return. Don't' have your bird feeders out, make sure your garbage is secure." Peggy says she uses a bungee cord on her garbage cans and keep them in the garage until garbage day.

For tips on helping people and bears coexsit Peggy recommends the website bearsmartdurango.org

Tips for dealing with bears

• Don't panic.

• Make some noise and give the illusion of being large.

• Stay indoors.

• Do not provide a food source such as bird feeders, garbage or dog food left outside.

Update: Another bear sighting.

Naomi Yaeger

Naomi Yaeger is a freelance writer and the former editor of the Budgeteer. See her blog at www.DuluthDailyPhoto.com.

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