Black Bear Spotted in the Wissahickon

An expert says it's "really unusual" to see a bear that close to the city.

Does a bear swim in the Wissahickon?

Apparently so. According to a Facebook post from the Friends of the Wissahickon, a black bear was spotted on Forbidden Drive in Wissahickon Valley Park. It was last seen heading toward Devil’s Pool.

Devil’s Pool is a swimming hole with a strong pull on ursine as well as human Philadelphians, it seems.

“This time of year, what happens is young males have been thrown out by mom and are looking for their own home area and for girlfriends,” said Officer Steve Martin, of the southeast regional Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Martin said the bear probably came over from New Jersey. “Right across the river,” he said.

Martin said there is a Game Commission officer on scene. He’ll try to tranquilize it and remove it. Black bear populations in Pennsylvania are concentrated in Lycoming County, Martin said. It’s “really unusual” to see one this close to the city, he said.

A spokeswoman for the city’s Parks & Recreation department says you shouldn’t go looking for the bear. And if you do venture out there, be sure to leash your dog.

Stay safe, everyone.

This is a developing story. Check back for more.

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