April 6, 2010
People are on the lookout for an orphaned bear cub in Crozet. It seems the furry creature is creating quite a stir in the Old Trail subdivision.
People are being told not to pet the bear or go near it, even though it's a tiny cub, only about forty pounds. The bear has become a fixture in the western Albemarle County development.
"When I left that day it was right at the edge drinking," says Sandra Terrell. The nanny was taking ten-month-old Sammy for a stroll in the neighborhood when she heard a loud noise.
"Something went running across the bushes. I thought it was a fat cat, but when I looked over at the tree it was a baby bear," says Terrell.
She says it's the same bear Sammy's parents saw in their driveway just days ago.
"I startled it, and it startled us, and when I looked over there, the bear was hugging the tree and turned and looked at me," says Terrell.
The Newsplex has learned the bear is an orphan yearling. It's too old to be considered a cub, and too young to be out on its own. The bear's parents likely died, forcing it to fend for itself.
With no Mama Bear to protect it, the bear aimlessly wanders. It's natural habitat overrun by development.
"I think we're beginning to encroach up in the area where they are, and they're hungry, and they're coming down [from the mountains]," says Lucinda Riley, the owner of Face Values Salon in Crozet.
Riley has seen black bears crossing the Old Trail golf course near her house.
"We were out there in a golf cart, and we saw it in the 11th hole crossing to the 12th. We think it was headed to the clubhouse," says Riley. "Maybe to get a sandwich? I don't know," she said with a laugh.
Most of the people who live and work in Old Trail aren't threatened by the bears.
"They're afraid of you as much as you're afraid of them, so all you have to do is make yourself look real big and real loud and they'll leave," says Forrest Jones, a mail carrier in Crozet.
In fact that was Terrell's reaction when she and baby Sammy saw the furry creature.
"We sort of stood there for a minute to see what it was going to do, and just moved on," says Terrell.
The Game Warden is aware of the situation. They are warning people not to approach bears, because getting between a mama bear and her cubs can be a sure way to get attacked. No word yet on if the bear will be re-located into the wilderness.