Bear spotted throughout Augusta, Martinez

MARTINEZ, GA (WFXG) - You're seeing it right: a bear photographed in the parking lot of Taylor Hyundai off Washington Road.

But officials said it wasn't shopping for a new car.

"It's a common occurrence. It's uncommon here."

Department of Natural Resources supervisor Lee Taylor said they got numerous reports of a black bear between Columbia and Richmond Counties, right near homes and businesses.

"We got a report of a bear swiping a bag of trash off a back porch," said Taylor. "So we responded to that."

Taylor said the bear most likely got pushed out of it's natural territory and is looking for a new place to live.

Folks who live in the area said the sighting is pretty shocking.

"If I saw the bear, I would probably take a picture, and drive off," said one girl.

"Frightening, also, because you don't want anyone to get hurt," said another.

Officials said the good news for us and the bear is that we're likely just a pit stop on its journey.

"We consider it a transient bear, not necessarily a nuisance bear, so it's probably stopped here for the day, just to kind of rest," said Taylor.

Experts do have some advice if you come across it.

"With all wildlife, we tell everybody to leave it alone," Taylor said. "Make sure it has enough room to exit, don't chase it, don't feed it, don't try to confine it any way, just let wildlife be wild."

Additional information from wildlife officials:

While there is no way to prevent a bear from wandering into a neighborhood, there are ways to discourage it from staying:

  • Never feed a bear. Keep items such as grills, pet food and bird feeders off-limits to bears. Clean and store grills when not in use. Keep pet food indoors and take down bird feeders (April-November) if bears frequent your area.
  • Use "bear-proof" garbage containers, or store garbage in the garage or other enclosed area until the morning of pick-up day.

Properly securing food and garbage prevents bears from accessing these non-natural, human-provided food sources, and helps avoid the unhealthy process of habituation that occurs when bears easily obtain food from people and begin associating humans with food.

If a bear is sighted in your neighborhood, here are some tips on how to respond:

  • Leave all bears alone. Usually, they are only passing through an area.
  • Stay a safe distance away.
  • Never, under any circumstances, intentionally feed a bear.
  • Never attempt to ‘tree' or corner a bear as it compromises the safety and welfare of both the public and the bear

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