Woman has close call with black bear in Narragansett

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NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — Brenda McCloskey was packing up after gardening at a home near Camp Varnum when a bear got up close and personal with her Tuesday afternoon.

McCloskey said she noticed the bear approximately 15 feet from where she was parked. Her initial instinct was to get inside the vehicle and close the open windows.

“He went around to the passenger’s side, and he opened the door, he put his feet up on the window first, and the feet went to the hood of the car, and the roof of the car, and then he kind of came back down again,” McCloskey recalled.

When she noticed the bear had opened her passenger side door, she made an attempt to close it.

“I grabbed the door with both hands, and we were having a tug of war with the door,” she recalled.

Eventually, McCloskey was able to keep the door closed and start up her car. The noise of her car starting up startled the bear and once police arrived, the officers used their cruiser sirens to scare him back into the woods.

“I was scared to death, but I wasn’t thinking he was going to eat me,” McCloskey said. “It wasn’t that type at all.”

McCloskey said while she’s worked in the area for years, this was her first time seeing one up close.

“It’s just not something you see every day,” she said.

Narragansett police say this is not the first time the bear has been spotted. An Eyewitness News viewer sent in video Monday of that same bear strolling through a yard near Oxeye Trail and Bridgetown Road.

According to Michael Healey at the RI Department of Environmental Management, the bear seems to be an adolescent male who was recently kicked out of his parent’s den. They believe he is not aggressive and is just hungry and curious.

Despite this, Healey said no one should approach the bear or attempt to feed it.

Here is a list of tips from the RI DEM:

  • Remove bird feeders by early April and waiting until early November to put them up back up.  
  • Refrain from feeding pets outside, or if you do, taking pet food dishes inside at night.
  • Store birdseed, livestock feed and garbage in buildings. 
  • Take garbage out for pickup on the morning of the collection – not the night before.
  • Keep barbecue grills clean of grease. Do not put meat or sweet food scraps in your compost pile.
  • Use electric fencing around chicken coops, beehives, rabbit hutches, and livestock pens.
  • Move livestock into barns at night.
  • Above all, DO NOT FEED BEARS. These are wild animals. An adult male typically weighs between 150 and 450 pounds, while females generally weigh between 100 and 250 pounds.

As of right now, Healey said they have no reason to relocate the bear since most bears wander off on their own.

Anyone who sees a bear is asked to report the sighting to the DEM’s Law Enforcement Division at (401) 222-3070.

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