CORNING - A young black bear was spotted roaming around the southside of Corning around noon Tuesday and took refuge in a tree in a resident’s backyard on Diatreta Lane at Columbia Street.
Corning City Police followed the bear from Pearl Street to First Street before it climbed into a tree about two stories high on Diatreta Lane.
Police then monitored the bear from a distance to make sure it didn’t encroach on residents or cause any further disturbance. Police stood by armed with non-lethal rubber bullets, which in these cases are used to retrain the bear to stay away from residential areas. But they're normally only used as a last resort option and weren’t necessary Tuesday.
Police said the protocol for dealing with bears in the city is to peacefully ward them off from residential areas back into the woods.
“We have to wait and watch and react to what the bear does,” said Corning City Police Chief Jeff Spaulding. “And if there’s some threat to public safety, we’ll address it as it happens.”
Police tried to shoo the bear away with sirens from their patrol vehicles, but the bear wouldn’t budge. Police eventually left the bear alone after it was clear the bear was scared from coming down and didn’t pose much risk to the surrounding area. The bear was still in the tree as of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Judging by its size, police estimated the bear was approximately two to two-and-a-half years old.
The bear was just one of several sightings of black bears in the Corning area this year. City Police said they’ve received 14 animal complaints this year relating to bears, though several of those complaints, including three from Tuesday, are due to the same bear.
Residents are encouraged to refrain from agitating or feeding bears. Police said offering bears food could cause it to associate the area with food and encourage it to continue coming back.
"Leave it alone, let it get comfortable, it’ll come down," said Spaulding. "It doesn’t want to be around people. It’ll find its way back to the woods."