VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Some video 10 On Your Side showed you yesterday is proof that it’s that time of the year – time for wild animals to start exploring the world again.
Sometimes, that world is our neighborhoods, as was proven by a bear walking past someone’s home in Virginia Beach over the weekend.
The Ring video shows a brief moment when a bear cub walks past the camera. It may have been for only brief seconds, but everyone is talking about the little bear.
“Everyone is talking about it,” said neighbor Fran Stetler. “Everyone I see when walking the dog is talking about the bear.”
Fran’s husband Wayne is talking about the bear, too.
“I saw the bear on Nextdoor video,” Wayne Stetler said. “What would I do if I saw it? Walk away, and leave the bear alone.”
Try as we did, we had no luck finding the bear.
We found Jason Paternostro, who reminded us Paternostro is Italian for “Our Father.”
He’s seen the video.
“Well, I first thought about the safety of my kids, and the family and my dog,” Paternostro said.
Seeing black bears is more common than people think.
Remember April 8, 2011?
A big black bear stormed the Shadowlawn neighborhood, then retreated up a tree.
In 2017, a black bear was spotted going through the West Neck and Indian River Road neighborhoods.
Bears were spotted in May 2020 in a Shore Drive neighborhood and in the Kings Grant area of the city.
Nelson Lafon is with Forest Wildlife Program Manager with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources,
“You should not be surprised at all about … bears out in neighborhoods,” Lafon said. “You are right off the Great Dismal Swamp which has been a refuge for black bears for a long time.”
Lafon said it is in the spring when bears come out after a long winter’s nap.
“In the spring, the bears are the hungriest than they are during the year because they are coming out of the dens,” Lafon said. “They get up all after a winter long nap. and they are coming out hungry.”
Said Paternostro: “I know it’s been in people’s yards, it’s been rummaging through trash, been getting into bird feeders.
Make no mistake, neighbors are concerned because if you have a bear cub, mama bear can’t be too far away.
Here’s a little-known fact from Lafon.
“Sensing danger, moms will make the little bear or cub go up a tree for safety, and the big bear will then come back later to get him or her,” Lafon said.
Neighbors in the area are certainly on guard.
“I run in the area. We walk the kids out here,” Paternostro said. “We are in the park all the time that backs up to the wildlife refuge. We are definitely more on alert.”
But you know who is really excited about the bear cub?
Paternostro’s young son, Luca. He can barely control himself.
“I saw the bear, yea, I saw the bear,” Luca said.
Dad is quick to point out he probably didn’t see the bear, but we pretend that he did.