Blaine area residents are being alerted to recent bear activity, as police and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers saw a young black bear at dusk on the outskirts of town.
Police Chief Mike Haslip said Blaine officers investigating a report of a bear sighting about 9 p.m. Monday near Odell Street and Pipeline Road said they saw a juvenile bear weighing perhaps about 250 pounds wandering in and out of the road. Haslip said the state Fish and Wildlife Department was notified, but no action was taken because the bear wasn’t threatening people or property.
They’re pretty common, it’s not a surprise to see a bear outside of town.
Jedidiah Forsyth, Cascadia Naturalist Association
Officers watched as it ambled north and east toward H Street, a wooded and less populated area.
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“They are definitely around,” Haslip said. “They mind their Ps and Qs and try to stay out of everyone’s way. This one was just doing his thing.”
He said it was the first report of a bear in Blaine, although there have been cougar sightings and a full-grown moose crashed across the border about 20 years ago.
As a precaution, information about the encounter was forwarded to the Blaine School District. Superintendent Ron Spanjer said a phone message was sent to parents of students in Blaine schools.
“With our system, we were able to alert a lot of families quickly,” Spanjer said Tuesday.
A naturalist who studies bears said they inhabit the Whatcom County lowlands, but are rarely seen.
“Outside of dense human habitat, there’s a good amount of bears,” said Jedidiah Forsyth co-founder of the Cascadia Naturalist Association, which is focused on outdoor and ecological education. “They’re pretty common, it’s not a surprise to see a bear outside of town. They’re very wary of humans, and they have a pretty decent understanding of human activity patterns and how not to be seen if they don’t want to see you.”
A black bear cub weighs about 75 pounds, and a sow or female is about 175 pounds. An adult male, called a boar, can reach 300 to 400 pounds. They’re about 3 feet tall when on all fours, and 5 feet to 7 feet sanding on their hind legs.
Haslip said this bear was roughly the size of two grown German shepherds, not quite full-grown.
He said police have received no reports of damage caused by a foraging bear, but he urged residents to keep garbage containers secure and small pets indoors.