It’s the season for bear sightings in Virginia and the Vienna Police Department wants people in the Tysons area to stay safe.
“Virginia is black bear country — including the Vienna area,” the police department said in a press release today (June 6). “However, while bears are not a common encounter in our community, multiple sightings are reported each spring and summer as bears wander into residential areas searching for food.”
The police department shared a factsheet by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, which says that Fairfax County has had black bear occupation occasionally, along with confirmed sightings.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has different tips for how to keep bears away from residential areas, what to do if you encounter a bear at home and how to keep them away while camping and hiking. The factsheet also addresses some common bear myths.
“Unprovoked bear attacks are very rare and have never been documented in Virginia,” according to the factsheet.
For anyone who comes into close contact with a bear, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recommends that they should back away slowly.
“Unless the animal is sick or injured or poses a threat to public safety, the Vienna Police Department does not take action to remove bears from a neighborhood,” according to the police department.
Instead, people should report bear to through the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline at (855) 571-9003, TTY 711.
Media Release – Be Bear Aware!!! Black bears and their cubs emerge from hibernation from March through May in Virginia and typically avoid humans, of whom they have a natural fear. In most cases would rather flee than encounter people. @TownofViennaVA @bearsmart @fairfaxcounty pic.twitter.com/JuniYMgpR7
— Vienna Police (@VPDVA) June 6, 2019