Northwest New Jersey residents voice concerns over close encounters with black bears

Residents of Northwest New Jersey, particularly in the Oak Ridge neighborhood, are growing alarmed over increased interactions with black bears venturing too close to their homes. Despite measures like installing fences and vigilance, the locals worry about the safety of their children and pets.

News 12 Staff

Aug 3, 2023, 12:30 AM

Updated 327 days ago

Share:

Residents in Northwest New Jersey are growing increasingly concerned following a series of close encounters with black bears, particularly in the Oak Ridge neighborhood.
Longtime resident Donald Bagnoli has coexisted with the local bear population for many years, but recently the creatures have ventured too close for comfort. "The bears in this neighborhood are very close to our houses. Very close. Just at the edge of our backyards," Bagnoli said.
A family of bears has even constructed a den under some fallen tree stumps in the woods behind Bagnoli's house, the same woods where his grandchildren used to play. "They never cleared those trees, and that's where they have their homes," Bagnoli explained.
As new families move into the neighborhood, worries about the bear population are escalating. New resident Ken Scudero has become vigilant about observing the woods while outside with his dog and young son.
"Constantly keeping your head on a swivel to make sure you don't have a bear lurking in the trees somewhere," Scudero said. He noted that the bears appear less fearful of humans than they were in the past, with some even standing on their hind legs and roaring.
Although Scudero and his wife have installed a fence as a precaution, he and Bagnoli remain concerned and wonder what measures are needed for a safer coexistence with the local bear population.
"We don't want to wait for something to happen to a young kid walking through the woods," Bagnoli stressed.
Bagnoli has contacted the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife about his concerns. While the department has relocated bears in the past, Bagnoli has been informed there are now limited areas where bears can be relocated.
Like many in his neighborhood, Bagnoli emphasizes that he doesn't want harm to come to the bears but insists on the safety of children and pets in the area. The residents are now looking to state officials to help keep the bears at a safe distance.


More from News 12
2:01
More Amtrak overhead wire issues cause delays for NJ Transit

More Amtrak overhead wire issues cause delays for NJ Transit

2:28
Man dies while trying to get kids off the beach during a lightning storm in Seaside Park

Man dies while trying to get kids off the beach during a lightning storm in Seaside Park

2:40
Higher temps return for Tuesday; tracking potential for Wednesday storms

Higher temps return for Tuesday; tracking potential for Wednesday storms

0:33
US Supreme Court rejects appeal on Rutgers University COVID-19 vaccine mandate case

US Supreme Court rejects appeal on Rutgers University COVID-19 vaccine mandate case

1:56
Power outage at Passaic housing complex leaves hundreds in the dark

Power outage at Passaic housing complex leaves hundreds in the dark

0:36
Jersey Proud: Teen with autism gets police escort to prom

Jersey Proud: Teen with autism gets police escort to prom

1:32
Police: Sinkhole caused by water main break causes traffic issues in South Brunswick

Police: Sinkhole caused by water main break causes traffic issues in South Brunswick

0:19
Hooters to close dozens of restaurant locations across the US

Hooters to close dozens of restaurant locations across the US

0:58
Officials: Large fire injures 3 firefighters, displaces more than 50 people in Passaic

Officials: Large fire injures 3 firefighters, displaces more than 50 people in Passaic

0:19
Prosecutor: 20-year-old man fatally shot in Irvington, suspect sought

Prosecutor: 20-year-old man fatally shot in Irvington, suspect sought

1:49
State police: Traffic fatalities on the rise across New Jersey this year

State police: Traffic fatalities on the rise across New Jersey this year

2:28
Staffer testifies that Sen. Menendez changed his stance on Egyptian government after meetings

Staffer testifies that Sen. Menendez changed his stance on Egyptian government after meetings

0:24
Officials: 5 people rescued from flash flooding on bridge in Readington

Officials: 5 people rescued from flash flooding on bridge in Readington

0:16
Police: Body of missing swimmer recovered from Lake Hopatcong

Police: Body of missing swimmer recovered from Lake Hopatcong

0:52
Officials: Multiple people displaced by New Milford apartment fire

Officials: Multiple people displaced by New Milford apartment fire

1:14
Middletown residents deal with damages, power outages from severe storms

Middletown residents deal with damages, power outages from severe storms

0:45
Police: Woman resists arrest at Wildwood Crest motel, bites officer’s hand

Police: Woman resists arrest at Wildwood Crest motel, bites officer’s hand

0:31
Prosecutor: Newark man sentenced to 22 years in prison for fatally stabbing roommate at homeless shelter

Prosecutor: Newark man sentenced to 22 years in prison for fatally stabbing roommate at homeless shelter

0:18
Police: 4 people shot in Trenton, 2 in critical condition

Police: 4 people shot in Trenton, 2 in critical condition

1:45
Sunday storms cap wild weather week across New Jersey

Sunday storms cap wild weather week across New Jersey