‘Avoid it and don’t approach’: Bear spotted in York near downtown, officials say

A black bear was spotted in York on Wednesday.

Emergency and law enforcement officials are urging anyone who might see the bear - presuming it is just one bear - to stay away from it and call wildlife officials

York, the York County seat, is a city of about 9,000 residents with rural areas surrounding it.

The York Police Department confirmed the bear was seen inside the city limits north of downtown near Kings Mountain Street. Reports of a bear also were seen near North Congress Street and Madison Street, police said.

The police department posted a video on its Facebook page from a York resident Wednesday that showed the bear in a back yard standing on its hind legs near a bird feeder and tree on Kings Mountain Street.

Bill Greeley of York saw the bear and took the video. Greeley had come home from walking his dog around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday when the dog started barking.

“I looked out in the back yard and there the bear was, standing next to the bird feeder,” Greeley said.

Greeley contacted York police.

“We ask that you please do not feed, harass, or go looking for bears,” York Police Department officials posted on Facebook.

York Fire Department Chief Domenic Manera said city officials were briefed Wednesday after city officials were shown video of the bear. Officials urged residents to avoid the bear if it is spotted again.

“Don’t approach the bear,” Manera said. “A bear is a wild animal.”

S.C. DNR Lance Cpl. Jeff Vissage said he has seen the video and photos and wildlife officials believe it is a young male bear passing through. Food sources such as bird feeders and other outdoor sources of food attract bears, Vissage said.

“This time of year young male black bears leave the family unit and go out on their own, so they travel along waterways looking for food,” Vissage said. “It is not uncommon to see them at this time of year.”

Vissage reiterated that the safe way to deal with a bear is not to deal with it at all.

“Steer clear of the bear and let it go where it is going,” Vissage said.

Bear sightings in York, Chester and Lancaster counties have been reported in recent years.

In 2018, a black bear was seen on video swimming in Lake Wylie.

In 2015, there were several black bear sightings in the city of York.

In 2015, a York County Sheriff’s office patrol car dashcam had video of a bear running across an I-77 exit ramp near Rock Hill.

Police urge the public to call S.C. Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials if a bear is sighted at 1-800-922-5431.

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