Black bear sightings reported along Dare beach towns, following BearWise principles encouraged

Published 12:08 pm Saturday, June 17, 2023

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Several reports of black bear sightings have been reported from Southern Shores to Roanoke Island recently.

To help to prevent any conflicts involving the bear, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Law Enforcement Division Sergeant Anna E. Barbosa shared some information about black bears and the principles of BearWise.

“While we do not have a permanent black bear population along the Outer Banks portion of Dare County, it is not uncommon for one to pass through the area,” stated Sgt. Barbosa. “In the springtime, these bears are usually young males looking for territory of their own.

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“We seem to get reports of bears along the Outer Banks every 3-4 years … they swim over from the mainland, both Dare and Currituck.”

Barbosa also noted that all recent bear sightings along the beach towns are probably the same animal, which is most likely a male about a year-and-a-half in age. No reports of any damage from this bear have been reported.

“So long as bears do not find easy food sources, they will continue on to more hospitable areas, generally swimming across the sound to the mainland,” stated Barbosa.

NC WRC encourages residents and visitors to follow the principles of BearWise, a nationwide program created by bear biologists to responsibly coexist with black bears:

  • NEVER FEED OR APPROACH BEARS. Feeding bears (intentionally or unintentionally) trains them to approach homes and people for more food. Bears will defend themselves if a person gets too close, so don’t risk your safety and theirs.
  • SECURE FOOD, GARBAGE AND RECYCLING. Food and food odors attract bears, so don’t reward them with easily available food or garbage.
  • REMOVE BIRD FEEDERS WHEN BEARS ARE ACTIVE. Birdseed and other grains have a high calorie content, making them very attractive to bears. The best way to avoid conflicts with bears is to remove feeders.
  • NEVER LEAVE PET FOOD OUT. Feed outdoor pets portion sizes that will be completely eaten during each meal and remove leftover food and food bowl. Securely store these foods so nothing is available to bears.
  • CLEAN AND STORE GRILLS. After you use an outdoor grill, clean it thoroughly and make sure that all grease and fat is removed. Store cleaned grills and smokers in a secure area that keeps bears out.
  • LET NEIGHBORS KNOW. Share news with your friends and neighbors about recent bear activity and how to avoid bear conflicts. Bears have adapted to living near people; are you willing to adapt to living near bears?

More information can be found at, and