ORCHARD PARK, NY ( WKBW ) Some residents in a local neighborhood have some unexpected company. Black bears are making their way into some areas of Western New York.
Ashwood Lane in Orchard Park is a place with manicured lawns and well kept gardens. It isn't the place you would go to and experience other elements of the great outdoors.
Resident Bob Wegrzyn told Eyewitness News, "The wildlife you see here are mainly rabbits and occasional deer."
This past Saturday, things got a little bit wild when John McGovern saw a strange animal. He said, "I just saw it crossing the street. Instead of doing the right thing and just walking away, I kinda chased after it, chased it into that tree."
Resident Dawn Chow added, "You could see the lower branches moving and you could see a shadowy figure...not a huge figure, but big enough to be moving the branches around."
McGovern had chased a young black bear up the tree. It's claw marks are still clearly visible in the bark. Orchard Park Police were called, and with the help of the Department of Environmental Conservation, they were able to scare the cub out of the tree and out of the neighborhood.
The D.E.C. says that this is the time of year when young bears are on the move. They are looking for new territory and an easy meal. They use natural corridors to travel, and in this case it was likely the ravines in nearby Chestnut Ridge Park were used.
Bear sightings are becoming common in Western New York. Photos taken this past weekend show bear tracks at a home on Murphy Road, less than mile from the other bear encounter.
The D.E.C. says they confirm about 6 bear sightings a day in this area, and are urging homeowners to put away bird seed - garbage - compost piles - and other potential food sources that attract bears. They also recommend that you keep a safe distance and never approach them.
Dawn Chow says she is going one step further. "We've got four kids ages two to nine, and now once it gets dark around 8:30p.m. or so, I'm pulling them in. We're not staying out late."