Authorities in Montgomery County are searching for a black bear that local residents have spotted wandering through backyards.
Bill and Donna Hodson were the first people to see the bear which they say wandered through their yard in Franconia Township Thursday morning.
“He wasn’t aggressive at all,” said Donna. “He was just ambling through, kind of lost, not provoked, not aggressive.”
“He stayed on all fours,” said Bill. “He was walking across here. You can see where he trampled through.”
Bill took pictures while his wife called 911. Police and wild life officials quickly arrived at their home.
Officials believe the bear is a young male who was sent away by his mother to fend for himself.
“We believe this a juvenile black bear, a juvenile male,” said Ray Madden of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. “Once they reach a certain age the mother bears will make them disperse.”
School officials at Vernfield Elementary School, right across the street from the Hodsons’ home, didn’t take any chances.
“We kept the kids in,” said Sharon Fuhrman, the principal of the school. “We didn’t actually see the bear at all around the school. We were just trying to be safe.”
Children at the school were allowed back on the playground today after he bear was spotted again, this time a few miles away in Schwenksville around noon. The bear was later seen on the other side of Route 73 heading towards Grateford Prison in Skippack Township.
“I’m hoping it’s a once and done event,” said Donna.
"The bear could travel up to 30 miles a day," said Madden. "So it could travel a long ways and it'll normally follow railroads and creek beds."
Madden also gave advice for anyone who happens to see the bear.
"If you keep your distance from the bear that bear is going to be more scared of you than you are of it," said Madden. "So it's going to want to go the opposite direction from you."