WALL TOWNSHIP — A resident spotted an American black bear on Azure Drive on May 22 at about 11:46 p.m., but according to police, it has not been reported since it was spotted going back into the woods.
“If a bear is not aggressive and is not near gatherings of people, there is no actions taken by officers on scene. The DEP was contacted to report the sighting,” said Wall Township Officer Greg Carpino.
Black bears are the largest land mammal in New Jersey. They are an integral part of the state’s natural heritage and a vital component of healthy ecosystems.
According to Marty McHugh, former Director of NJ Fish and Wildlife, the bear was likely a young male considering no cubs were reported.
“I don’t think it’s a big cause of concern for people in Wall township that this young bear was there. Honestly, it’s an amazing conservation success story, just like bald eagles, falcons and turkeys,” said Mr. McHugh.
According to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, since the 1980s, the Garden State’s black bear population has been increasing and expanding its range both southward and eastward from the forested areas of northwestern New Jersey; there are now confirmed bear sightings in all 21 of New Jersey’s counties.
Mr. McHugh says the bear was most likely pushed out of its home once it reached adulthood and is probably traversing the various greenways in the state in search of its own territory.
“It’s a relatively anomalous incident for Wall Township. I think there was a bear spotted in Allaire maybe six years ago, but it passed through. If there are bears, they’re looking to find a place where they’re not going to be with people because most black bears are afraid of people,” said Mr. McHugh.
This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.