MANTUA TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A Ring doorbell camera recently alerted a family to an intruder prowling around their property, but it turned out to be a black bear.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife said it’s common during the summer months for bears from Pennsylvania to wander into Northeast Ohio in search of food and companionship.
“Nine out of ten times, these are young males, about a year and a half to two years old, and they are looking to get away from other bears who are tougher, stronger and older than them and looking for some space,” said Division of Wildlife Spokesperson Jamey Emmert.
Over the weekend, a homeowner in Chagrin Falls was able to capture video of a black bear walking along a lake near his home. State wildlife officials said black bears can travel great distances at night, and because of that, there is a possibility that the sightings in Mantua Township and Chagrin Falls were of the same bear.
Emmert said for the most part, black bears are docile animals that avoid contact with humans.
“Really, we refer to them as overgrown raccoons and they behave very similarly and they don`t seem to know how big they are, so most of the time if someone encounters a black bear, clapping your hands, waving your hands above your head, shouting at them, that will discourage them from coming forward. They`ll usually turn and run away,” she said.
Wildlife experts said it’s common for the wandering bears to eventually head back to Pennsylvania.
“They find very little shelter and a whole lot of people, dogs barking at them, cars moving fast down the road, so there`s a lot of obstacles that aren’t really comfortable for bears, so ultimately the bears will head back eastward at the end of Summer,” said Emmert.
The Division of Wildlife is encouraging homeowners to report any bear sightings and to make sure their pets are not running loose. They are also asking them to secure bird feeders and garbage cans, which are among the bears’ favorite sources of food.