News & Politics

A Black Bear Has Been Rummaging Through Trash Cans in Kensington

There was also a bear sighting in Chevy Chase last night.

A black bear. (Not our black bear.) Photograph by Jitze Couperus/Flickr.

A black bear was spotted wandering around and rifling through garbage cans in Kensington earlier this week. The bear was seen on Dewmar Lane on Monday, and on Culver Street on Tuesday. NBC4 also reports that last night, a Chevy Chase resident came close to petting a bear—which he’d mistaken for a dog—in his backyard. It’s unclear whether the sightings were of the same animal.

Bear sightings are relatively uncommon in Montgomery County, but Jonathan Trudeau—the Black Bear and Co-Deer Project Leader at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources—says that the department does receive calls about sightings there each year. Black bears tend to breed in Western counties like Frederick, and the ones seen in Montgomery County are usually young males just passing through. Over the past five to ten years, Maryland DNR has received reports of bears in almost every county in the state.

In recent years, conservation efforts and habitat recovery have helped renew the state’s dwindling black bear population. “We’re starting to see bears come back into these areas that they haven’t been in, you know, 50, 100, 150 years,” says Trudeau.

Watching a bear chomp on pizza is undeniably adorable. But Trudeau stresses that humans should never feed, or approach, a bear: “This applies to wildlife in general; they do not need you to feed them to survive.” Bears are quick learners, and once they find a food source, they’re more likely to come back. Besides trash cans, pet food and grills that haven’t been cleaned can attract a bear’s attention.

Katie Kenny
Editorial Fellow