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York County Regional Police warn residents of increased bear activity in the area

There have been several sightings of juvenile bears, most recently in East Manchester and Windsor townships, police say. Here's what to do if you spot one.

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Note: The video is from May 19.

After an uptick in the number of bear sightings in the area over the last few months, including recent sightings in East Manchester and Windsor townships, York County Regional Police on Wednesday provided tips for residents on what to do if a bear shows up in their neighborhood.

Juvenile bears are often spotted this time of year, as mating season runs in June and July and many sows begin to chase off their previous litters of cubs.

"These juvenile bears (between 1.5 and 2 years old) are curious and are trying to find their own range to make their home territory," the police department said in a press release. "Bears typically travel quite a distance and (sightings) in this area (last) a short period of time…..UNLESS, they find food."

And that's where residents come in, the police department said.

"It is important to minimize the opportunities for the bears to find food at your homes or properties," police said. "Bears will be attracted to the scent of food scraps left in garbage cans outside, bird feeders, pet food left outside, gardens, and food grease on outdoor grills."

Bears generally avoid humans and will run off when they see or smell humans, according to police. But people should not underestimate a bear’s size, speed or strength. Bears are fast for their size, and even a young bear's claws are sharp enough to injure a human.

Bears are wild animals, and should not be approached, according to police.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission provides several suggestions or warnings for people to use in case of encountering a black bear: 

  • Alert the Bear – make noise so the bear can hear you, see you and or smell your human scent. Do not surprise a bear as they can be unpredictable at that time.  
  • Get Back – slowly walk away while facing the bear so you know where the bear is.  Do not run! 
  • Stay Calm – While walking away do not make sudden movements.  Attempt to get space between yourself and the bear and to a place of safety: residence, vehicle or other obstacle to be placed between yourself and the bear.  
  • Pay Attention – Bears may stand up in order to use their senses to determine what you are.  Do not view this as a sign of aggression. Continue to walk away while facing the bear and make noise. 
  • Fight back – Black bear attacks are extremely rare. If a black bear attacks, you should fight back by using anything available to you to strike at the bear.  

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