HYATTSVILLE, Md. (DC News Now) — People in Prince George’s County got a bear-y special surprise Thursday morning when they woke up to a black bear roaming around various cities. Experts said they’ve gotten several reports since last week, and they believe it’s the same bear.
“That was the wildest thing ever,” one neighbor said when he found out the bear was in his Hyattsville neighborhood.
Other Hyattsville residents were also amazed but also a little nervous when they saw a black bear walking around.
“Maryland has a very healthy black bear population, and so do all of our surrounding states that we share our black bear population with. So all the Mid-Atlantic states are pretty much seeing an eastward expansion of their black bear, which is why we’re starting to see black bears pop up in some of these nontraditional areas more frequently,” said Jonathan Trudeau, Black Bear & Co-Deer Project Leader with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Another neighbor spotted the bear directly in front of her window.
A long-time resident told DC News Now he had his kids outside when he heard the news and immediately went to check on his kids.
The bear was also spotted in University Park and in Beltsville on Wednesday.
The question on everyone’s mind, is why is a bear roaming around Prince George’s County?
“It’s a time of year where the young so to speak teenagers are dispersing they’re leaving their naval range where they’re born and trying to find a new place to call home. It’s also leading up to the breeding period. The male black bear, they’re on the prowl, kind of looking for females and occasionally the females get pushed around and into new areas as well,” said Trudeau.
In May, DNR they’ve responded to more than 50 black bear reports in Maryland, but mostly in the western region. Over the past week, they did receive more frequent reports of a black bear being spotted in Prince George’s County.
So how do you stay safe if you see a black bear?
“So the best thing you can do is if the bears are aware of your presence, speak to them calmly, and back away slowly,” said Trudeau.
Trudeau says DNR is monitoring the whereabouts of the bear. They will intervene if a dangerous situation happens.