Fairfax County Police said a black bear was spotted in the 1300 block of Trap Road in Vienna around 1 p.m. on Monday, but residents should not panic if they have a bear encounter.
The resident who snapped a picture of the bear close to a playground close to Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (and just down the road from Reston) told police the bear posed no problems or issues. Police said this bear has likely “already moved through and not staying in the area.”
County Animal Control Officers and the Fairfax County Wildlife Management Specialist say it is not unusual to see black bears at this time of year and residents should not panic or feel alarmed when they see one.
From county animal control:
“Bears typically avoid humans, but in their search for food it is not uncommon to see one. Most often, bears will keep moving through an area once they fail in their attempts to find food.
“Unless the animal is sick or injured, or poses a threat to public safety, animal control officers do not take actions to attempt to remove bears from a neighborhood. Black bears have a natural fear of humans, and in most cases, would rather flee than encounter people.”
The Fairfax County Wildlife Management Specialist and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says residents should follow these tips to ensure bears stay away from homes:
The best way to encourage the bear not to return is to remove food sources.
Do not store household trash, or anything that smells like food, in vehicles, on porches or decks.
Keep your full or empty trash containers secured in a garage, shed or basement.
If you have a trash collection service, put your trash out the morning of the pickup, not the night before.
Take down your birdfeeder for 3-4 weeks after the bear visits.
Consider installing electric fencing, an inexpensive and extremely efficient proven deterrent to bears, around dumpsters, gardens, beehives, or other potential food sources.
If addressed quickly, this situation can be resolved almost immediately after you remove the food source. Sometimes, the bear may return searching for food, but after a few failed attempts to find it, will leave your property.