It is not Chicago, but “da bears” keep appearing.
There have been multiple bear sightings in the Camas area within the past couple of weeks.
According to Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Jeff Wickersham, they have included a bear — described as larger than a cub — that was seen May 25, at about 4:30 p.m., running north from Dorothy Fox Elementary School (1954 N.E. Garfield St.)
The following day, at approximately 7:30 p.m., someone reported seeing a black bear running along the south side of the road by WaferTech (5509 N.W. Parker St.)
A bear was also seen May 27, at about 8:30 p.m., at the 1400 block of Northeast 197th Avenue.
“All of these were seen near the greenbelt or running into the woods,” Wickersham said. “The areas are so far apart.”
Craig Bartlett, a public information officer with the WDFW, in Olympia, said the reports could have involved two different bears.
“The sightings have been fairly far apart,” he said Thursday. “Bears can cover a fair amount of distance in a short amount of time, but they don’t usually do it. We’ll look at the patterns of sightings.
“We are working with the Camas Police Department,” Bartlett added. “They’re responding and tracking these calls fairly carefully.”
He said Monday there had been no reports of bears in the Camas area since early last week.
“That is sometimes what happens,” Bartlett said. “A bear shows up in an area. It’s possible it’s moved on. The greenbelts they use to move into an area are the same areas they use to move out.”
If Camas residents see a bear “under normal circumstances,” he recommends they call the CPD at 834-4151, and the police will contact Fish and Wildlife officials.
“If it appears to be a dangerous situation, you can call 911— if there is a bear near school grounds, that kind of thing,” Bartlett said.
Wickersham said yards with trash cans and bird feeders can attract bears.
“Keep trash locked up in the garage or secured so it does not tip over easily,” he said. “Other attractants are hummingbird feeders, suet, and beer and soda cans. They leave odors and can cause problems. Remove the attractants, so they are not tempted to stick around.
“If you live in a rural, urban area, seeing a bear is not going to be uncommon — as long as bears are moving through an area — that’s what bears do,” Wickersham added.
On April 26 — after receiving several reports of a small bear being spotted in the Camas area — WDFW and CPD officers tracked a cub near the 1700 block of Northwest 31st Avenue and landed a successful shot with a tranquilizer dart.
The 60-pound animal was immobilized within a matter of minutes before it received an ear tag and was relocated to rural Skamania County.
“When we removed the bear from the Prune Hill neighborhood, we heard there might have been others,” Wickersham said. “People said there could have been two originally in April — possibly two small bears. We just don’t know.”
Putting out a trap has been discussed, but Wickersham said it would not be effective since the one or more bears are not sticking around one area.
“If the situation changes and the animal is sighted more routinely — two sightings in one day — that could change things a bit,” he said. “It does not appear to be getting in someone’s trash. They’ve just been chance sightings. The times and locations have been separated. There could be two or more bears, or it could be the same one.”