The Charlotte region’s latest bear sighting happened Wednesday in Hickory, where a bear staked out a cozy spot atop a tree behind one of downtown’s busiest liquor stores.
North Carolina Wildlife Commission officials took a patient view of the bear’s visit to First Avenue, telling the Hickory Daily Record it would likely stay there until nightfall. However, the bear climbed down shortly before noon, to walk across the parking lot and settle near another tree.
“He got agitated,” wildlife biologist Brad Howard told the Daily Record. “I think as people, as the city started to come to life, some people came up underneath the tree on the back side…and he decided that he needed to get out of the tree.”
Officials were urging the public to leave the bear alone, believing he would eventually find a way back into the forest. The trees behind the liquor store were the closest thing it could find Wednesday morning, officials told the Daily Record.
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Hickory Police Department got their first call about the bear around 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Suzanne Townsend Jackson said she and her mother saw the bear Tuesday evening, as it stood in the middle of the road near Jaycee Park. She says she called 911.
“I will add, this lil’ guy was fast and super skinny. Please do not harm him (public) if you encounter him. He did seem really scared. Poor fella,” she posted on social media.
Observer news partner WBTV is reporting the bear is a yearling male and authorities want to keep him in the tree until he can safely come down and avoid busy traffic in the area.
It’s the latest in a string of bear sightings in the Charlotte area, one of which involved a man running into a bear with his car on Interstate 485 near the Providence Road exit. That bear fled and has not been seen since.