State fish and wildlife officers are tracking the movements of a black bear on Bainbridge Island as neighbors all over the island have been reporting sightings of the animal.
On Thursday, the city posted on its website, saying that in the last 24 hours, “there have been several reports of bear sightings on Bainbridge Island,” including one of the bear “around 11:45 Wednesday night near Bainbridge High School.”
Photographer Terry Birch captured images of the black bear Saturday morning in the Fletcher Bay area.
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“He's a perky little guy-- looks like he's healthy, having a good time,” Mark Dudley remarked, looking at Birch’s photos.
Dudley lives near the Grand Forest, a park where the bear was spotted Monday morning. Dudley’s neighbor found the bear on her porch even earlier Monday morning. Now he’s been on the lookout.
“I’ve never seen a bear,” he said. “I keep hoping I’ll get a glance of one crossing the street, but it hasn't happened.”
Dudley said over the last couple of months there have been a lot of reports about a bear on the island.
“The big thing now is people trying to figure out a name for it,” Dudley said. “That's what you see on Facebook and the neighborhood people [are] trying to come up with a name—Smokey, Yogi, Camper, whatever!”
Down the street at the Grand Forest, a sign is posted at the entrance, advising people that bears have been spotted in the area.
Grace Campbell wasn’t aware that the bear had been spotted just a few hours before her hike.
“You didn't know they had just seen the bear here?” KIRO 7 reporter Linzi Sheldon asked her.
“No! I did not!” she said. “Because I don't get up in the morning and think about, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll see a bear today.’”
Bears haven't just been popping up around neighborhoods on the island. New video from Woodinville on Thursday shows a cub 60 feet up a tree in a neighborhood, with mama bear waiting for her baby to come down.
Fish and wildlife officers say people need to make bears feel unwelcome in neighborhoods by making plenty of noise when they show up. They also advise that neighbors remove items that attract bears, like bird feeders, and keep garbage can lids tightly secured.
People who spot the bear on Bainbridge Island are asked to call The Department of Fish and Wildlife at 360-902-2936. Officers are collecting information to track the bear's movements so they can plan a safe way to trap it and remove it from the island.
The city stated that there have not been any reports of aggressive behavior by the animal, and anyone who observes aggressive behavior from it is being urged to call 911.
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