Credit: Photo via Montgomery Parks

A black bear seems to have become unusually cozy in Rockville and Bethesda, according Paul Peditto, director of the Wildlife and Heritage Service at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

A 2-year-old bear is still roaming around central Montgomery County and it was spotted near Tuckerman Lane in the Tower Oaks area of Rockville on Wednesday afternoon, Peditto said Thursday.

Several black bear sightings were reported in that area in June.

Adolescent male bears migrate at the beginning of the summer in search of their own territory, a mission that can drive them hundreds of miles from their natural habitats and toward humans, Peditto said. Typically, they’ll eventually carve out a swath of territory away from humans.

Wildlife officials aren’t certain why a bear may be hanging around. Peditto said authorities believe the same bear has been in the area for a month now.

“Right now, it’s an awfully lonely bear,” Peditto said. “This is a juvenile male who will be looking for a mate this time next year. He doesn’t want to set up shop here.”


Peditto said DNR has not received any complaints about human activities that would keep a bear comfortable in the area. Bears are known to go after bird feeders, unattended trash bins and even barbecue grills as easy sources of food, he said.

On Thursday, wildlife officials surveyed the area of Wednesday’s sighting to look for any extra-accessible food sources, Peditto said, in order to keep the bear from “literally dumpster diving” for chow.

“We’re not really concerned about someone getting eaten by this bear,” Peditto said. “He’s probably traveled hundreds of miles past thousands of humans and hasn’t eaten any of them. We’re confident this bear wants to be away from humans as much as we want it away, too.”


Wildlife officials would extract the bear as a last-case scenario, Peditto said. That’s only done when the animal is holed up in a position where both it and surrounding humans could be in danger.

In June, Peditto shot a nonlethal tranquilizer at a bear that had climbed a tree on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda. That bear was relocated to Boyds.

“There are plenty of corridors and good open space for this bear to travel to and get out of the suburbs and even stay in Maryland,” Peditto said.


Residents who spot the bear can call the DNR at 1-800-260-8367 or contact the department on Twitter (@AccessDNR) or Facebook.