The black bear that was Sunday in a South Whitehall backyard came down on its own and left the area overnight, as Pennsylvania Game Commission officers predicted it would.
On Sunday afternoon, the bear was reported running through backyards on Springhouse Road before a dog chased it up a tree at 1481 Springhouse Road.
The bear attracted quite a crowd during the evening, according to Robert Vickery, 18, who lives at the house. The Game Commission and South Whitehall Police left his yard about 9:30 p.m. last night, he said.
Vickery said the Game Commission officers told him that if everyone left the bear alone it would probably come down and be gone by morning, and it was.
Last month, Easton police shot and killed a bear that wandered into the city. The bear was shot after tranquilizers failed to work, police said.
Black bear sightings are not unusual this time of year because it’s breeding season and the mother bears, called sows, send their young away to find their own territory, said Cheryl Trewella, information and education supervisor for the Southeast region of the Game Commission.
“They’ll wander through areas that aren’t typical bear territory,” Trewella said. “Our biggest thing is just having people leave them alone. If it’s not causing any problems or safety hazards, it’s best to let it go off on its own.”
Most of the bears in the Lehigh Valley are in the northern parts of both counties where there aren’t as many people, she said.
Trewella offered some tips to deal with black bears:
-- Make sure you don’t take your garbage out till the morning it's picked up so they won’t be attracted by the food. Any food source bears can find will encourage them to hang around longer.
-- Keep dogs on a leash this time of year or if you let your dog out in the backyard at night, flip on the light first to make sure there are no bears.
If you encounter a bear:
-- Don’t put yourself between a female and her cubs.
-- Put your arms up and yell, while slowly backing out of the area. Black bears are usually more afraid of you than you are of them.
For more tips on dealing with black bears go to: