'Pool party bears' seen often by residents

A family of bears used this backyard pool to cool down in Rockaway Township.

A family of bears used this backyard pool to cool down in Rockaway Township. (8/27/15)

ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP - A family of bears made famous from a viral video that showed them swimming in a backyard pool seems to have permanently moved into the neighborhood.

Rockaway Township resident David Horowitz snapped some pictures of the mother bear and her five cubs Wednesday as they snacked on some food they found by knocking over garbage cans.

"It used to be a big surprise when you saw them," he says. "Now it's like, 'Oh, here they go again.'"

Horowitz's daughter, Ilene, also lives in Rockaway and is a real estate agent. The bears have now become a point of conversation with buyers.

"Everytime I sell somebody a house in this neighborhood, I always tell them not to worry. You have bear, deer, fox, you're in the country," she says.

As cute as the bear in the pool video may seem, officials from the Department of Environmental Protection says it is proof there needs to be population control for New Jersey's bear residents.

"The bottom line is we're getting a lot of human-bear interaction. Some of it is OK, some of it is not," says DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.

Commissioner Martin says the New Jersey bear hunt will be extended this year. Next year, the hunt may be held in two phases: one in October and another one in December.

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