The one, or possibly two, black bears seen in Clemmons this week are likely young males driven out of their habitats by their mothers after they gave birth to new litters of cubs, two state officials said Friday.
“These bears are moving along their own way,” said Jodie Owen, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “They are looking for something to eat and somewhere to live.”
James Tomberlin, a biologist with the agency, said in an email that the bears typically use major river systems, such as the Yadkin and Dan rivers and their tributaries to move throughout the region.
“Inevitably, some of these young bears find themselves in developed (and) populated areas when they venture into the Piedmont counties,” Tomberlin said.
Forsyth County authorities received reports of one or possibly two black bears Wednesday and Thursday in Clemmons.
The village of Clemmons has posted a black bear alert on its Facebook page. Village Manager Scott Buffkin said village officials posted the alert as a precaution.
Forsyth County Animal Control received phone calls at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday about a bear spotted off U.S. 421 near the Lewisville-Clemmons Road exit, said Lt. David Morris, the agency’s director. The second sighting of likely the same bear was reported off Lewisville-Clemmons Road, Morris said.
Forsyth County Animal Control received another report Thursday of a bear off Springfield Farm Road in Clemmons, Morris said. That animal might be a bear cub, Buffkin said. And later Thursday, Winston-Salem police tweeted about a bear sighting at Interstate 40 and Jonestown Road.
Authorities haven’t received any reports of bears attacking anyone, Morris said.
“The black bear is a very shy, nonaggressive animal that avoids humans in most cases,” according to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s website. “Occasionally, bears wander into developed areas in search of food.”
Black bears are the only species of bears found in North Carolina or anywhere else in the eastern United States, according to the wildlife commission. Black bears rely mostly on their sense of smell and hearing because of their average eyesight, which is similar to people’s vision.
The breeding populations of black bears live in counties north and west of Forsyth County, Tomberlin said.