(Forsyth County, GA) On Thursday, June 1, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) warned of several black bear sightings in the area over the past few weeks on the FCSO Facebook page.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR) confirmed at least two bear sightings in the county.
The first was spotted north of Lake Lanier swimming in the lake. The GDNR believes it went to Buford for a few days before heading north where it was hit by a vehicle and killed on Interstate 985 in Hall County.
The second bear was seen on the Poole’s Mill Elementary School campus on May 16 when it climbed a fence and ran away.
The most recent bear sighting was reported to the GDNR yesterday morning on Thursday, June 1 on Bentley Ridge Drive in Cumming. The small bear appears to be moving and is believed to be right on the county line of west Forsyth County and north Fulton County as of yesterday. It is likely this is the same bear that was seen at Poole’s Mill Elementary School.
GDNR Communications and Outreach Specialist Melissa Cummings said it is ideal that the bears seem to be on the move.
“That’s the best thing that can happen is that they're going to maybe dip down through areas that aren't necessarily considered bear territory,” Cummings said. “But as long as there's nothing there for them to want to stay in the area, then they're just going to continue to move and eventually make their way back up to a more appropriate habitat.”
Residents should make sure not to leave anything bears might like to eat easily accessible to them such as trash, pet food and even bird feeders.
Bear sightings around spring and summer are common. Young male bears usually wander outside of their normal habitat to search for food and avoid the older male bears in their usual territory.
According to bearwise.org, black bears are not normally aggressive but individuals who come across one are advised not to run, to make themselves as big as possible and to make noise.
“Holler at them, bang things together, slam doors,” Cummings said. “We’ll tell people if they have them in their backyard to get pots and pans and go out and bang pots and pans together just be obnoxiously loud and yell at them.”
Bears should never be cornered and should always be given an escape route. Dog owners should make sure to keep an eye out when there are bears in the area to avoid them cornering a bear or chasing them up a tree.
Forsyth County residents wanting to report a bear sighting, property damage or anything else can contact the GDNR Region 2 of the Wildlife Resources Division at 770-353-5700 or after hours at 800-241-4113. In case of an emergency, call 911.
If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact Justine Lookenott at email@example.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at @justalookenott.