Black Bear Spotted Swimming in Philadelphia's Wissahickon Creek

A black bear has been spotted roaming through Philadelphia's Wissahickon Valley Park and swimming in its creek.

A passerby came across the bear along Forbidden Drive near the Valley Green Inn on Friday morning, according to the volunteer group Friends of the Wissahickon.

The area is adjacent to several very popular walking and hiking trails. Wissahickon Valley Park is an 1,800 acre section of Fairmount Park located on the northwest end of the city.

The group posted photos of the bear swimming in the Wissahickon Creek and walking near Devil's Pool. They warned people to keep their dogs on leashes and to be alert.

NBC10 has reached out to the Fairmount Park Commission about the bear's discovery, but did not immediately hear back.

Black bears are known to be curious and quick movers being able to run up to 35 miles per hour, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. They are the only type of bear found in the state.

While they like to explore, they can be shy and an attack is extremely rare.

If you come in contact with a bear, here are tips from the game commission:

  • Stay calm, walk away slowly, but talk to alert the bear to your presence.
  • If you come in close contact with the bear, walk backward slowly, facing the bear. But do not make direct eye contact. Wild bears typically only attack when provoked.
  • Don't climb or run as the bear can easily catch up.
  • If the bear does attack, fight back by throwing rocks, sticks and other debris.
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