Bear Continues to Move Through South Jersey

Police say the black bear was last seen near the border of Moorestown-Maple Shade, by Pennsauken Creek.

Updated at 10:05 a.m., May 30

SOUTH JERSEY -- The Burlington County bear has ended his celebrity stroll. Officers brought down the bear Thursday morning with a tranquilizer. Get the details and photos: 


The bear continues to make its way east, with sightings in Maple Shade late Tuesday/early Wednesday, and again early Wednesday morning in Moorestown.

The black bear was most recently spotted in the area of Browning and Cottage avenues, adjacent to Pennsauken Creek, by Moorestown Police. Maple Shade Police observed the bear on Wilson Road, right near the border between Maple Shade and Moorestown, around midnight Tuesday.

In both instances, the bear has avoided contact with people by retreating into the woods, police reported.

Until the bear moves on, police continue to urge residents to avoid leaving their trash out in the open and advise against putting it at the curb until the morning trash is to be collected.

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) also cautions against trying to seek out and observe the bear and notes that feeding a bear is against the law. 

Contact Moorestown Police at 856-234-8300 if you see the bear so they can keep track of its location. Report bear damage or nuisance behavior to the DEP 24/7 bear hotline at 877-927-6337.

To keep current on the bear's movements, sign up for emergency notification systems with your local police department.

In Maple Shade, residents can sign up for both Nixle and Global Connect

Go here to sign up for Nixle alerts from Moorestown Police.


The bear who took a walking tour through Mount Laurel and Moorestown over Memorial Day weekend is apparently still hanging out, according to police.

Moorestown Police Lt. Lee Lieber said the black bear was spotted Tuesday in the vicinity of Route 38 and Nixon Drive, near Strawbridge Lake. Residents also reported seeing the bear on the unit block of Meadow Drive, the 100 block of Kings Highway and the unit block of Shirley Avenue.

Lieber said Moorestown and Mount Laurel police have both reached out to the state Division of Fish and Wildlife for assistance in dealing with the bear, but were informed the state typically doesn't intervene unless the bear has been contained.

"I'm not really sure how you're supposed to contain a 400- to 500-pound bear," he said. 

Larry Hajna, a spokesperson with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), said the state's policy with bears is of the "live and let live" variety.

"Our policy is if the bear is just wandering through an area, and is not causing any problems ... we just let the bear be," said Hajna.

He said black bears are rarely aggressive and tend to leave humans alone. That said, he advised against approaching the bear, and especially against feeding it.

"You just have to fight that urge to be a curiosity-seeker," said Hajna.

For some facts about black bears in New Jersey, visit this DEP link and go here for safety tips.

The bear was seen wandering around Mount Laurel Sunday and Monday, staying within a half-mile radius around Church Street between Route 38 and I-295. Lieber said police thought Route 38 might keep the bear somewhat contained, but apparently it made its way across the highway at some point.

Lieber said at this point police are just trying to keep track of where the bear is via reported sightings. 

Although there's no way to be absolutely certain, it's very likely the sightings are all of the same bear, based on the descriptions and locations, he said.

Lieber said he could not recall any previous reports of bear sightings in Moorestown in his time with the department. 

Although black bears are not known for being aggressive, police caution residents to keep their trash and bird feeders indoors and stay away from the bear—and also keep an eye on their pets. 

The following information comes from the Division of Fish and Wildlife:

Black bears are the largest land mammal in New Jersey. They are an integral part of the state's natural heritage and a vital component of healthy ecosystems.

Since the 1980s, the Garden State's black bear population has been increasing and expanding its range both southward and eastward from the forested areas of northwestern New Jersey. Within the most densely populated state in the nation, black bears are thriving and there are now confirmed bear sightings in all 21 of New Jersey's counties.

Division of Fish and Wildlife personnel use an integrated approach to managing New Jersey's black bear population, fostering coexistence between people and bears.

The map above shows flags where the bear was spotted, with the red line showing where police generally believe the bear moved around this weekend. Visit this page to add your own sighting—enter the address and click "add to map" to add a sighting.

Residents are urged to contact the police department at 856-234-8300 to report any sightings of a bear in the township.

Bear Lover May 29, 2013 at 09:02 PM
I fear this story will not end well for the bear. The notion that he's "moving through" is flawed. Bears travel miles/day when on the move. He has been within the same 6 block area for 3 days. As it happens, he technically crossed into Maple Shade, but his location is only a few blocks from strawbridge lake. He will stay as long as he finds food.
Bear Grills May 29, 2013 at 09:03 PM
We're in the Jaws of danger as we speak!
Bear Grills May 29, 2013 at 09:08 PM
you're right the notion is very clawed.
Bear Necessities May 29, 2013 at 09:24 PM
So what your saying is as long as we keep feeding the bear he will let us live
Bear Grills May 29, 2013 at 09:27 PM
we must make sacrifishes immediately!
Bear it all May 29, 2013 at 09:29 PM
jokes about german sausage are the wurst
Fuzzy Wuzzy May 29, 2013 at 10:04 PM
Now this feed is funny. If I see him, I'm getting out my Polar-oid.
Fuzzy Wuzzy May 29, 2013 at 10:05 PM
If anyone sees him riding a tricycle, he definitely came from the circus!
Barbara Metzler May 30, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Sarah, That would be a treat!
HomeBrew May 30, 2013 at 12:15 AM
NJDFW: "It is important not to leave out any food or garbage that may encourage bears to linger in residential areas. One person feeding bears can create a problem bear that may affect the entire neighborhood." http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearfacts_homeowner.htm
Barbara Metzler May 30, 2013 at 12:35 AM
HomeBrew is correct. People can't feed bears since that encourages them to stay in an area and neighbors can be upset. That causes problems for the bear. I hope the bear finds a comfy, wooded area without homes.
MORT May 30, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Bears are very dangerous....its all fun and jokes now until someone is harmed..!
Barbara Metzler May 30, 2013 at 12:57 AM
Mort, I don't know what you are reading, but black bears are not "very dangerous." I have many friends who have lived near bears for more than 30 years. You obviously need to see a presentation about bears by people who study bears. You should also see New Jersey Crime Statistics about people.
Barbara Metzler May 30, 2013 at 01:15 AM
Mort, In New Jersey, from January to June 2011 (6 months) the total number of human arrests for serious offenses was 176,350. And it isn't getting better.
George A May 30, 2013 at 02:03 AM
I grew up in Sussex County around bears my whole life. I have encountered them many times and I have hunted them. They are really very timid and want to avoid people. Just don't approach it if you see it and don't leave anything around for it to eat and it will move on eventually.
Bear Grylls May 30, 2013 at 01:06 PM
make sure you're using that Kodiak film!
HomeBrew May 30, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Bear, believed to be M'town Bear, tranquilized in Delran. http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/burlington_county_times_news/bear-tranquilized-in-delran/article_0c6e9636-fd4b-56b9-b17a-8868e38212fd.html
MTL BEAR May 30, 2013 at 01:44 PM
The police set up a bearicade and tranquilized me while i was in a tree. Oh bother.
Barbara Metzler May 30, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Thank You, HomeBrew for the update. Barbara
The Situation May 30, 2013 at 01:51 PM
Cool, It just fell out of a tree in Delran after being shot in the arse by a tranq gun.
Bear Grylls May 30, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Stupidity about bears is a Panda-mic around here! Thanks for keeping that guy informed Bearbra!
Bear Grylls May 30, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Bearwell MTL bear, may you Clawlways find the honeypots you're looking for!
Bear Grylls May 30, 2013 at 04:13 PM
tranKoalaized in the bear arse!
Barbara Metzler May 30, 2013 at 04:20 PM
To Bear Grylls, I try to keep people informed. NBC10 Philadelphia wrote: Black bears are common in the Garden State and an "integral part of the state's natural heritage and a vital component of healthy ecosystems," according to the Division of Fish & Wildlife. And that is so right! Bears are great environmentalists. They make forests healthier by eating harmful Eastern Tent Caterpillars and bear scat is a natural fertilizer that reseeds the forest since bears especially like berries/fruit, acorns, nuts and seeds.
MTL BEAR May 30, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Well I guess its time for me to hybearnate for a pawse.
fozzy bear May 30, 2013 at 07:32 PM
thank goodness, this whole ordeal has been a real clawamity
Bear Arms May 30, 2013 at 07:45 PM
this thread has not been clawful, rather its been pawsome.
Bear Grylls May 30, 2013 at 08:11 PM
I fur one had a roaring good time.
fozzy bear May 30, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Small Wangalang May 30, 2013 at 09:50 PM
Wow, the delran PD finally did some work besides busting underage kids for nothing!


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