Bears 'Wreaking Havoc' in Kinnelon, Resident Says

Police respond to bus stop after animals visited near parents, children.

A trio of black bears caused concern for some residents of Kinnelon Estates Wednesday morning, with one resident describing the bears as "wreaking havoc" after the bears hung around a bus stop.

Resident Chris Roslan said a mama bear and two cubs have been "tearing it up over in Kinnelon Estates."

"Last week, they trashed every single garbage can on both Clearwater Drive and Magdalena. They did the same again today and were hanging out at the bus stop (Clearwater and South Glen) while the kids were there (they wouldn’t move!)," Roslan said.

Kinnelon police responded to the bus stop to ensure the safety of the residents, Lt. John Schwartz said. Schwartz said everyone was safe Wednesday morning, but bears have been reported throughout the borough recently.

"They're very active this time of year because they're getting ready to hibernate," Schwartz said. "This year as been an abnormally active year."

Schwartz said between January and December of 2011, 97 bear complaints were logged by Kinnelon police. This year, already 107 complaints have been filed.

"They're just very, very active this year and we don't know why," he said.

Schwartz said the bears have not been more damaging than usual or creating cause to be tranquilized or killed, but they are making their presence known more than in the past. Police have responded to the calls, but generally try to scare the bears back into the woods without use of the rubber pellets often shot at bears by law enforcement officials to scare them away.

Roslan said the bears have caused some disruptions in his own neighborhood though.

"Two weeks ago, they were in my garage trying to get into the garbage and I heard they also broke in to a neighbor’s brand new shed to get at the garbage," he said.

But while they may be a nuisance, Schwartz said the bears are simply on a mission.

"They're really just looking to eat," he said.

Rachel Kientz October 26, 2012 at 03:38 AM
They keep building up around here, where are the animals supposed to go? I rather they leave the wooded areas alone and stop building condos that no one is buying. Makes no sense. I moved here 10 years ago for the quite country like setting, that's all but gone now.
Barbara Metzler October 26, 2012 at 06:09 PM
To avoid attracting a bear to homes, it is important to properly secure garbage and pet food. Especially this time of year, bears are attempting to fatten up for hibernation. If people yell, stomp on the ground, wave their arms and back away slowly, the bear will make a fast retreat. Air horns, supersoaker water guns, rocks and pepper spray are also very effective tools for chasing away bears. So are pop-open umbrellas. Doing so, teaches bears that they are not appreciated on peoples' properties. Taking action to reinstill the bears’ natural fear of humans is called “aversive conditioning.” And please understand that people are 380 times more likely to be killed by lightning and 97,000 times more likely to be murdered by another human being than to be hurt by a black bear. Bears are opportunistic feeders and they look for food that is easy to get, such as bird seed or leftover food in garbage cans. Bears have a strong sense of smell, so it is important to keep garbage in airtight containers and usually, a rag soaked in ammonia on the container will discourage a hungry bear. In the Fall, bears are preparing for hiberation when they use up to 4,000 calories per day, but do not eat, drink urinate or defacate. During this period of excessive eating and drinking to fatten for hibernation, bears can eat 15,000 - 20,000 calories or more per day and drink several gallons of water.
Barbara Metzler October 26, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Bears have always lived in New Jersey, but they are more visible due to all the building that is replacing forests and open land and has caused a fragmented habitat. People can live peacefully with Black Bears and can learn to appreciate these majestic animals. Seeing a bear is a joy when people have positive attitudes. Black Bears are "aggressive" only in the minds of people who know nothing about them. Black Bears are not Grizzly Bears. Even the New Jersey Fish & Wildlife site says... Sows will vocalize to cubs when sensing danger and both adults and cubs will run away and climb trees to escape disturbances. There are no reports of a treed bear coming down and hurting anyone. They wait for the neighborhood to calm down at night so they can climb down and head for solitude. Also ~ Black Bears do NOT get upset if someone is between the mother and her cubs. Lynn Rogers, PhD, has lived with bears and studied them for 40+ years. He has written that mother Black Bears DO NOT defend their cubs against people, She sends the cubs up a tree and waits until humans leave and then she calls them down.
Steve Bullwinkel October 28, 2012 at 02:59 PM
I'll second what Barbara says, as she's completely correct and I appreciate her repeating that which we should all know. I scared them away and up a tree simply by clapping my hands and speaking in a loud voice. I suspect the only "havoc" wrought was a mess around the garbage cans.
Melissa P. December 05, 2012 at 07:23 PM
If people would manage their garbage with "bear proof cans: , don't leave bird feeders out , and make lots of noise when they site a bear..keep pets teathered, etc. you will find that the the bears will not be a problem..... unfortunatley, all the problems with bears are due to people not taking the right steps.


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