Bear experts talk population growth after sighting in Uptown Greenville

Bear sightings increasing
Bear sightings increasing(WITN)
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 11:56 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2023 at 11:59 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - It was a somewhat scary moment in Uptown Greenville last night, as 50 to 70 pounds of young black bear strength wandered through the area.

Some visitors had a chance to bear witness to the unique visitor. This was one of a few such encounters in our state this week.

Bear fanatics like Bear-ology Head Operator Tom Harrison believe the cub was searching for a bite to eat.

“You’re not on the menu,” said Harrison. “As a matter of fact, your pets aren’t really on the menu either. They’re omnivores, but they’re principal herbivores. They’re just looking for a free meal.”

The black bear was first spotted roaming around 10:45 p.m. as video showed it trying to claw its way into University Book Exchange, leaving sportswear manager Chad Thompson flabbergasted.

“The bear population has kind of exploded here in eastern North Carolina, but to see them in a dense populated area is surprising,” Thompson said.

The cub’s rare sighting is only one of many black bears captured around the state, but Harrison said calling wildlife officials on them isn’t necessary.

“They might be interested in knowing, but there’s nothing that really is going to done,” Thompson said. “They’re not going to dart bears and move them.”

Cotanche Street was on bear watch as the cub scurried in between buildings. Harrison feels it stopped by U.B.E to change that roar in an “arrgh.”

“Glad to hear there’s bears that are ECU fans,” Harrison said. “I’m a pirate myself.”

Harrison says black bears have now been spotted in all 100 counties in our state. There were no reports of any bears stealing anyone’s dinner, though, as far as we know.