How To Stay Safe Around Wild Animals

Lynchburg, VA- That bear cub we told you about Thursday night that was stuck in a tree in Lynchburg, is now in the hands of Animal Control. Officers spent a lot of time on Rockbridge Avenue trying to get the cub down. The Animal Warden filled us in on how they caught the bear.

There were reports of seeing this baby bear all week long. It had some in the community enthralled and others alarmed. Chief Animal Warden Todd Jones says the best thing to do with wild animals is keep your distance.

"We do have bears in the area, we just wanna keep them wild, keep them moving," said Jones.

Linda Jennings and Crystal Wade live along Rockbridge Avenue. They have never seen a bear in the area before.

"The little boy said 'there's a dog', and I looked and it was a baby bear cause he sat up in the tree and you could see his face and you knew it was a bear," said Jennings.

"And when they called and said there was a bear I really didn't believe it, I was like, 'yeah right', but then when I saw the kids and everybody out there and my mom was like 'it's really a bear!" said Wade.

They were among those Chief Animal Warden Todd Jones asked to stay back while officers captured the bear.

"We were able to safely tranquilize it in the tree. It actually came down on its own out of the tree and just ran to the bottom of the ravine and went to sleep there," said Jones.

Jones says in the spring, bear cubs leave their mothers to find their own habitats. If you think there is a bear in your area Jones says you should:

Try to remove food sources like trash, birdfeeders, or cat food, bungee cord your trash cans so the bear can't get in, and bring smelly trash inside or take it to the dump.

If you feed or encourage a bear to stay in your area, Jones says they can get used to eating there and lose their ability to survive on their own. He says you don't have to be scared, but you need to take those steps to keep the bear moving to another habitat.

"A lot of people wanted to take pictures yesterday and from a distance that's ok if you see a bear, you don't have to freak out you can take a picture but keep your distance, let them be wild, let them stay you know like they are and don't try to chase them or corner them or anything like that, that's when you can have issues," said Jones.

He says the baby bear was very malnourished. The bear was taken to the Virginia Department of Game where it is being fed and treated. It will be rehabilitated and released back into the wild far from Lynchburg.