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VERIFY: No, this photo of a bear collision didn't happen recently in Bowie

A photo of a dead black bear on Nextdoor has one viewer asking the VERIFY team, are there bears in Prince George's County?

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Verify Viewer Kathy Woods from Hughesville, Maryland was sent a picture of a dead black bear lying in the street. Her sister had sent her the photo, which was allegedly captured in Bowie, Maryland.

The photo appears to have been posted on the neighborhood social media platform, Nextdoor. She forwarded the photo to the VERIFY team to get some answers:

“Is it true that there are bears in Maryland, particularly in Bowie, Maryland," Kathy asked. "I just need to verify since I’ve seen the pictures and I want to know, is it true?”

THE QUESTION

Does this photo show a recent bear death incident in Bowie, Maryland? 

OUR SOURCES

  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources spokesperson
  • Chief of Police for the City of Bowie John Nesky  

THE ANSWER

No, it does not.

WHAT WE FOUND

The Verify team started by checking to see if the photo was an old picture that had resurfaced. Our researchers did a reverse image search using Google Images and TinEye. We found that the photo appeared to be an original photo, that had not appeared elsewhere previously. 

So next, we sent the photo to Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Bowie Police.

A DNR spokesperson said it appeared to be a photo from a few years ago making the rounds. While he couldn't pinpoint an exact date, he said it would have likely been from 2019, when there were a handful of bear sightings in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Bowie’s Chief of Police John Nesky agreed that the photo didn't appear to be recent, and said they didn’t respond to the incident.

RELATED: Bear sightings in Potomac put new focus on preventing encounters

As to whether there are bears in Bowie, about 2,000 black bears live in Maryland. Most are in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, and Frederick counties, according to DNR’s website.

A spokesperson said it's not unheard of for a bear to wander to Prince George’s County.

So we can Verify, our experts say they don’t believe this is a recent photo from Bowie. 

RELATED: Curious bear pokes his head around Frederick residential neighborhood

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