UPDATE as of 7:30 p.m.: State wildlife officials are not responding to today’s bear sighting and believe the animal has likely moved north. DuPont City Administrator Dawn Masko told South Puget Sound News that unless the city has probable cause that the bear is still on the trail, it is likely that Sequalitchew Creek Trail will re-open on Tuesday morning.
There was a unconfirmed report of a bear near the Fort Lewis Golf Course on June 22, and again last weekend in the El Rancho Madrona neighborhood. Residents should read the advice posted on the Washington State Department of Wildlife website regarding encountering bears and living in areas where black bears roam.
A bear sighting along the Sequalitchew Creek Trail has closed the trail effective Monday, July 15, 2013 until further notice.
A resident walking the trail around 1 p.m.on Monday spotted the bear and notified authorities.
DuPont interim police chief Bob Sheehan said they have contacted the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
This is the second black bear sighting in DuPont this year. Earlier this spring a bear was spotted in DuPont’s Bell Hill neighborhood and was eventually captured in Lakewood.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website has information on what to do if you encounter a bear. Tips include the following:
- Stop, remain calm, and assess the situation. If the bear seems unaware of you, move away quietly when it’s not looking in your direction. Continue to observe the animal as you retreat, watching for changes in its behavior.
- If a bear walks toward you, identify yourself as a human by standing up, waving your hands above your head, and talking to the bear in a low voice. (Don’t use the word bear because a human-food-conditioned bear might associate “bear” with food . . . people feeding bears often say “here bear.”
- Don’t throw anything at the bear and avoid direct eye contact, which the bear could interpret as a threat or a challenge.
- If you cannot safely move away from the bear or the bear continues toward you, scare it away by clapping your hands, stomping your feet, yelling, and staring the animal in the eyes. If you are in a group, stand shoulder-to shoulder and raise and wave your arms to appear intimidating. The more it persists the more aggressive your response should be. If you have pepper spray, use it.
If you live in areas where black bears are seen, Wildlife officials suggest management strategies around your property to prevent conflicts such as don’t feed the bears, and manage your garbage.
Please refer to the Washington State Department of Wildlife for information on bear encounters www.wdfw.wa.gov/living/bears.html