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Wandering Black Bear Spotted In Columbia And Ellicott City

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — A black bear is prowling suburban neighborhoods in Howard County.

Alex DeMetrick reports it’s been spotted at least four times in Columbia and Ellicott City.

Columbia mixes green space with human activity, but throw in a black bear:

“You said a black bear, right? I don’t know. That’s scary,” said Derrick Brown.

It was briefly caught on camera in a Facebook posting during its ramble through Columbia and Ellicott City.

“I’m guessing this is probably a two-year-old male. At that point in time, they’re pushed out by the adult female and they’re forced to seek a territory on their own,” said Ken D’Loughy, DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service.

Sightings are now routine. In 2008, one was seen on the Eastern Shore.

“And I looked out there and he was up on two legs,” one woman said.

That same year, DNR tranquilized and removed a black bear from an Arbutus neighborhood–something that’s not usually done, because:

“They do leave the area. They do move on,” said D’Loughy.

In Columbia, a man who declined to talk on camera pointed to where the bear moved through his yard. But word of the sighting does have neighbors talking.

“It’s kind of scary to know there’s a black bear hanging around out here,” one woman said.

But wildlife experts and even security camera video point to an animal that is usually not a danger to people.

“No, no, no! Black bears are not aggressive. At the first sign of a person, they’ll take off,” D’Loughy said.

And when it figures out there are too many people here, it’s expected to move on to more secluded territory.

Black bears can travel up to 100 miles looking for a place to call home. This one likely wandered in from Western Maryland.

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