A young black bear zigzagged through Oak Ridge Tuesday, hopping fences, crossing busy streets, and avoiding dogs and curious humans as it headed south.
Late Tuesday evening, officers from the Oak Ridge Police Department and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency tried to herd the elusive bear away from homes in the Woodland neighborhood, possibly south toward Melton Hill Lake and Y-12 National Security Complex.
“We’ve got a bear here,” TWRA wildlife officer Jason Lankford said, as officers gathered at the corner of Northwestern Avenue and Nevada Circle at about 8:30 p.m.
Oak Ridge Police Lt. Brad Jenkins said no one had been injured and no animals had been harmed. The bear, estimated to be about 150 pounds and about 15 months old, would not be tranquilized unless it became aggressive, Jenkins said.
He said the Police Department had bear sightings most of the day.
“He’s just moving around,” Jenkins said.
The bear was reported in various locations, including Key Springs and Hillside roads, Highland Avenue, and Purdue Avenue.
Lankford said bear sightings are normal this time of year as young male bears try to establish new territory after older bears push them out of preserves like Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Sometimes the young bears get trapped in cities.
“It’s just traveling through,” Lankford said.
He said the bear doesn’t pose a threat to humans, but residents should use common sense if they see it.