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Black Bear Spotted in Irvington Woods

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June 21, 2022

By Barrett Seaman—

Naturally enough, the first report showed up on Facebook. Writing on Irvington’s 10533 page, Margaret Peter Copp posted the above photo with a report that “there is a large Black Bear on the Hermit’s Wetland trail right now,” which was 3:10 p.m. Monday afternoon. That would place it on the east slope of the Irvington Woods recreation area above the Saw Mill River Parkway.

At 6:10 p.m., the (or ‘a’) bear “just walked through our neighbors yard heading towards the East Irvington Nature Preserve.” Later in the evening, according to Irvington Parks and Recreation chief Joe Archino, the animal was seen further down the parkway, heading towards Dobbs Ferry.

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Some of the reports, including one from Mayor Brian Smith, mentioned a cub, which would make a close encounter with mama that much more precarious. Yet most of the bear experts contacted by Recs & Parks opined that the bear was probably just passing through and would not cause any harm if not overtly threatened.

A clearer image of a Black Bear

The village was quick to place signs up in the woods and to publish a list of Dos and Don’ts for anyone who might encounter the bear. For homeowners, securing the tops on garbage cans and keeping dogs on a short leash or inside the house would be high on that list. Yelling, clapping hands or banging pots should startle them into running off, but charging at them, surrounding or cornering them will likely provoke a counterattack. And just like at the zoo, don’t feed the bears; it will only encourage them to stick around for more.

Black bear sightings have been fairly common in counties to the north and in Northern Westchester, but it has been six or seven years, since one was spotted in Irvington, says Archino. If it’s true that they don’t really want to hang around humans, the bears might reconsider their drift down-county where woods are scarce and populations dense.

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