A black bear, approximately 6 to 8 ft. in height, was found sauntering through Manalapan Township and into Englishtown Borough shortly before 1 p.m. today. Lt. Peter Cooke Jr. of the said that the police received word of the bear through Monmouth County dispatch.
Dispatch told Englishtown police that the bear was first sighted on Iron Ore Road near Mount Vernon Road. in Manalapan and headed towards Englishtown. Several Englishtown police officers went to the vicinity of the sighting; a landscaper on Woodruff Court told police that he had just spotted the bear on his street, Cooke said.
Cooke and a couple of more police officers responded to the area and located the bear on Heritage Drive, which is one street over from Woodruff Court.
"We chased the bear into the woods behind Heritage Drive and then went to the other side of the woods on Mt. Vernon Road in Englishtown where it later came out," Cooke said.
They then chased the bear over the Englishtown border and into a heavily wooded area in Manalapan behind the Reiss Corporation, Cooke said.
"The bear does not seem to be aggressive," Cooke noted. "He was more scared of us than we were of him." According to Cooke, the bear ran in the opposite direction of the police the moment they appeared.
Englishtown Police have issued a warning on the Borough Web site about the sighting of the bear and to be cautious. Police are advising residents to keep a tight lid on their garbage cans, not to leave food outside and not to leave children or pets outside unattended.
Lt. Mike Fountain of the is also advising Manalapan residents not to feed or encourage the bear to stay on their property.
"Usually, the bears move on out of a yard and seek the shelter of the wooded area on their own but occasionally need to be assisted by us," Fountain said. All Manalapan police officers are trained in how to encourage the bear to move on to a wooded area and Fountain said he does not want residents to attempt to do this.
Fountain also said that bear sightings have been on the rise over the past few years and unless a resident truly needs help moving the animal off their property they tend to leave it alone.
Any sightings of the bear in Englishtown should be reported to Englishtown Police Department at 732-446-7000 and any Manalapan sightings of the bear where you need assistance moving the bear off of your lawn should be reported to the Manalapan Police Department at 732-446-4300.