Eric Mori knew he was headed into a wooded area but didn’t expect to see a bear when he moved to his house in The Farm neighborhood off Carolina Forest Boulevard two years ago.
But on June 27, he heard a squealing noise that sounded like a cat coming from behind his backyard.
“I made the comment to my wife as a joke, ‘Oh, sounds like a bear,’ ” he said while eating dinner on his back porch. “We’ve heard many things back in the woods back there.”
But Mori need not have joked.
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I made the comment to my wife as a joke, ‘Oh, sounds like a bear.’
Eric Mori, Carolina Forest resident
“When I got up to look over, about two houses over in the back of my neighbor’s yard there’s a baby bear about three or four foot tall, about eight to 10 feet up in a tree,” he said.
By the time he went to grab his phone for a picture, his dog Jax had scared off the bear.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources biologists are reporting increased black bear activity throughout the state, according to a press release.
If you see a bear leave it alone. If the bear continues to stay, there’s a reason.
Sam Chappelear, SCDNR wildlife biologist
While the upstate contains most of South Carolina’s bears, Horry and Georgetown counties have some of the largest coastal populations, according to DNR wildlife biologist Sam Chappelear.
“Bears are somewhat of an opportunistic feeder of sorts,” Chappelear said. “They eat lots of grubs and seeds.”
That includes the seeds found in bird feeders, and DNR is encouraging those with a bear problem to remove their feeders, which attract the bears.
“If you see a bear leave it alone,” said Chappelear. “If the bear continues to stay, there’s a reason.”
Aside from removing bird feeders, DNR suggests people should store their garbage in tightly-shut containers, store pet food in air-tight containers, keep charcoal and gas grills clean and refrain from feeding the bears.
“Obviously I don’t want to come in contact with the bear, especially a baby bear where there’s going to be a mother bear somewhere,” Mori said. “Hopefully we’ll scare them away more than they’ll scare us.”