SUFFOLK -- Authorities are reporting a number of bear sightings in the city this week.

City spokesperson, Diana Klink, says there were several calls to police on Friday regarding what they suspect is the same bear.

The first call came around 6:30am on the 4400 block of Brent St and then another call a little later to the 5100 block of Towne Pointe Rd.

An animal control officer actually saw the bear at the second location and contacted the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries about it. The bear was not removed and was determined not to be a nuisance bear.

The bears are foraging and sightings are common this time of year, according to the city, and the city's proximity to the Great Dismal Swamp allows for even more sightings.

The city told residents Friday that they can minimize negative interactions with bears by following some simple guidelines:

Secure garbage: Store garbage indoors, in a shed, in a garage, or in a bear-proof container.
Put garbage out the morning of pick-up, not the night before.
Pick up pet food. Feed pets only what they will eat in a single feeding or feed them indoors. Remove the food bowl soon after pets finish. Pick up uneaten food. Do not leave food out overnight.
Remove the bird feeder: Bears consume seed and nuts found in the wild, so bird feeders become a favored target for bears.
Clean the outdoor grill often.
Do not put meat scraps or any other strong-smelling food in the compost pile. Consider an enclosed compost bin.
Pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees and surrounding grounds.

The city is warning residents that if a bear is on or near their property, they shouldn't escalate the situation by approaching, crowding around, or chasing the bear. This also applies to bears that have climbed up a tree.

They are encouraging the public to leave the bears alone especially if they are up trees. If people and pets are kept away from a bear, it will increase chances of it leaving the property on its own.

The city has set up a line for residents to call if they have a problem with bears...757-923-2350.

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