WATCH: Black bear ‘politely’ wanders through Arlington Co. neighborhood

Young black bear visits Northern Virginia neighborhood

A black bear wandered through Arlington, Virginia, on Monday. Officials are asking neighbors who spot the bear to keep their distance as the furry animal moves through.

The bear was seen on North Ottawa Street around 9 a.m. and the county’s animal control department confirmed it’s been spotted all around the North Arlington corridor.

ArlingtonNow first reported the bear sighting.

Resident Charlie Stuart-King said the bear walked up to his home and sniffed trash cans. He took some videos of the animal, which he described as “chill”:

“It’s just about the most exciting thing since the solar eclipse,” he told WTOP.

The bear gave some residents a scare when it dashed across Langston Boulevard.

Jennifer Toussaint, chief of Animal Control in Arlington County, said keeping your space from the bear is important in staying safe.

She said residents should make sure to remove bird feeders in addition to securing trash.

“Bird feeders are one of the No. 1 attractants to bears going into backyards when making their way through the area,” Toussaint said.

Arlington’s Animal Welfare League also has some tips for bear safety:

  • Don’t track the bear
  • Keep pets on a lease
  • Secure trash

If you spot the bear, you can report the sighting to the league by calling (703) 931-9241.

The animal control department is not giving exact locations of where the bear has been spotted, Toussaint said, to avoid having residents gather in hopes of seeing the animal.

“We have already seen community members avidly flocking into these areas this morning trying to find the bear doing the exact opposite of what we’re encouraging people to do, which is give space,” she said.

Toussaint said some people have leashed up their pets and gone to walk the neighborhood in search of the bear.

“That can create lots of points of conflict between us and this animal as it politely makes its way through our community,” Toussaint said.

Following the wandering bear could not only cause it stress, it could also get the bear to get off track. Toussaint said young bears, oftentimes male, are spotted a couple times a year as they search for new territory and follow the Potomac River watershed.

“When following that watershed, they end up kind of coming through our very urban area just for a very short period of time before again they continue North and West,” Toussaint said.

Just last week, a black bear was spotted in Northwest D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood.

The bears usually only stick around for a couple of days as they move onto their next destination.

WTOP’s Jessica Kronzer contributed to this report.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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