About two dozen visitors at the Tuscarora State Park in Barnesville were suprised Saturday evening when a 110 pound black bear came out of nowhere and started foraging for food in garbage cans located less than 50 feet from them.
Most of the beach goers left the park immediately while a few stayed a safe distance away to take photos of the bear, who didn't seem to be bothered by all the onlookers.
Rangers from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) responded and tried scaring the bear away from the beach with traditional methods, although the stubborn bear still chose to remain up a nearby tree, which was located near his newly-found food source, a garbage filled trash can.
Jacqueline DeCindio, chief park ranger, who was the first responder on scene, stated, "Bears can become violent or unpredictable if they are on or near their food source, like a garbage-filled trash can." She also mentioned that it isn't uncommon to see bears come out for an easy meal, especially during breeding season.
DeCindio, recognizing the bear as being about 18 months old, mentioned that the bear's mother recently abandoned him due to the fact that mother bears usually only care for their young for about two years. She also added, "Black bears normally avoid people, but bears dependent on eating human food can become aggressive when people get between them and food."
Rangers eventually chose to shoot the bear with rubber buck shot to distance the bear from the beach. Rubber buck shot doesn't penetrate or cause permanent harm to the bear, as it is only used to intimidate the bear. No one was injured during the encounter.
Officers from the Pennsylvania Fish and Game Commission were also called in to set up culvert traps in hopes to catch and relocate the bear away from the park.