Black Bear Spotted in South Jersey Towns

South Jersey residents are on edge after a black bear was spotted several times over the weekend in Ocean County.

The bear was seen in several locations in Lakewood Township, including North Lake Drive as well as near the Ocean Day School on 5th Street. During one of the sightings, children jumped off their bikes and ran away.

“You kind of have to look both ways and make sure there’s nothing out there to be afraid of,” said Angela Sopkiewicz, a teacher at Ocean Day School.

The bear was also spotted in neighboring Jackson Township.

Joe Bellavia, a Jackson Township resident, took videos and photos of the bear outside his home last week before it ran off.

“It does make you wonder how far he’s traveled,” Bellavia said. “How many yards he’s been through and how many people have seen him.”

Authorities say the bear has not attacked anyone and that the creatures are normally wary of people by nature.

“I opened the back door and made a noise and he just looked and kept moseying on,” Bellavia said. “He didn’t seem too concerned.”

State wildlife officials tell NBC10 there haven’t been any efforts to catch the bear and relocate it to a remote area since it hasn’t created any danger. Officials say officers will visit the area if the bear returns and becomes a nuisance.


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