Paul Peditto, from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, said the department got a call from Montgomery County Police about the sighting, which happened at about 2:30 p.m.
Reader Stephen Shaffer got an email from his wife Barbara at 2:35 p.m. in which she described seeing the bear on Tuckerman Lane before it ran into the Luxmanor neighborhood. She called police, who said they were getting to the area.
As many learned during last month’s high profile incident involving a black bear at NIH, a black bear sighting in populated areas of Montgomery County is rare but not a complete surprise. Peditto said DNR has gotten recent reports of sightings from all around Rockville, mostly from the Tower Oaks section of office buildings just east of I-270 and north of Montrose Parkway.
“So we know there’s one wandering around that area right now,” Peditto said. “If you’re near it and you have reason to be concerned, literally clap your hands and make noise. Don’t run. If you clap your hands and make noise the bear’s going to run away. It’s more afraid of us then we should be afraid of them.”
In the NIH incident, Peditto and other DNR officials scared a black bear off a tree limb before tranquilizing it and returning it to a more appropriate habitat in a wildlife management area in western Montgomery County.
Peditto also advised to avoid putting out anything that could serve as an attraction to the bear, such as birdfeeders, barbecue grills and trash.
“Anything that has a scent to it,” Peditto said. “Bears have a remarkable, if not one of the best senses of smell of any of the wildlife in our region.”