WENTWORTH, N.C. – A bear sighting has been reported in Wentworth.

Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page tweeted a photo of the bear walking around the area of the new Courthouse in Wentworth.

Photo: Josie Loftis

The bear was spotted around 7:30 on Tuesday night, walking right through one of the most populated areas in the central business district of town.

Page said the bear was in the parking lot of Elizabeth's Pizza before crossing NC Highway 65 and going back in to the woods near the courthouse.

Page said the bear didn't appear to be aggressive. It ran away without hurting anyone.

But he says this isn't the first time a bear has been spotted in the area.

The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office has received at least six reports of bear sightings this summer.

"They are out foraging around and looking for food," said Page. "Sometimes they get out of the creek bottoms and the areas of their normal habitat and they come out where people are at and encounter people."

Wildlife Resource Commission Officer Darryl Southern says the bear spotted in Wentworth is probably an adolescent black bear that was kicked out by its mother.

Southern says they get several calls about bear sightings at all different times of the year.

"We get common sightings every once in a while," said Southern. "We get calls and reports of a bear sighting so it's not an uncommon thing. With so many people here in the triad, we have a good population of bears, it's not uncommon to see a bear have a human and wildlife interaction."

Southern says bears mainly stay in the woods but at times, they will come out looking for food.

He says bears like to eat nuts, seeds and berries.

To protect your home from bears, Southern says you should not leave trash or pet food sitting out and remove bird feeders or any other food source that might attract bears to your home.

In most cases, officials say bears are more scared of you than you are of them.

But Page says that doesn't mean you should give bears or any other wildlife a reason to approach your home.

"We have seen coyotes. We've seen bears. We've seen turkeys all over the place. But a bear you have a little more concerned about because bears have claws and bears have teeth," said Page. "We don't want anybody getting hurt. If you do you see a bear, what should you do? Leave it alone. If you put a beer in to a distressed situation or you back them in a corner, that's when it becomes a dangerous situation."

Rockingham county officials put out an alert to notify the people who live in the area to be on the lookout for the bear.

Sheriff Page advises that you use caution and do not approach the bear or feed it if you see it. Make sure you call 911 to report the bear.

Photo: Josie Loftis

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Photo: Josie Loftis