Black Bears Spotted in Central NC

May 23, 2011

Black Bear
Credit National Park Service

  People from Greensboro to Garner have been spotting black bears in recent days. Officials say it's the time of year juveniles typically venture out of their home habitats in search of a new place to live. Colleen Olfenbuttel is a biologist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. She says bear sightings in the Triangle and Triad are becoming more frequent.

Colleen Olfenbuttel: "One reason is we have an increasing bear pop and bear range. We actually have breeding females in Johnston County. It's due to some of the conservation efforts we've put in place over the last few years."

Olfenbuttel says there are up to 16,000 black bears in North Carolina now, most of them in coastal and mountain areas. She says unlike grizzly bears, black bears are essentially harmless unless provoked.