It sounds like a black bear has made itself at home in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Reports of a black bear near Tollgate Road were reported to authorities, and while many residents kept an eye out for the black bear, one family came face to face with the animal in their own backyard.

Either the family has an incredible zoom lens on their phone or they got incredibly close to the bear. Either way, the family managed to capture two incredible images.

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Warwick Animal Control confirmed the report of a black bear sighting in the woods near Tollgate Road, but no involvement was necessary.

“It’s just a bear in the woods at this point,” the dispatcher said.

Are black bears normally found in this area?

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According to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, it’s rare but not unheard of.

Black bears have been in southern New England since the first European settlers arrived, and as they begin to emerge from hibernation, RI DEM stresses that bear sightings do not always mean danger.

“DEM stresses that merely seeing a black bear does not mean the bear is a problem or that it poses a threat to public safety,” they said. “How, bear interactions with humans, pets, livestock, agricultural products, and other property can become problematic.”

As bear sightings increase with the arrival of warmer weather, the RI DEM shared some helpful tips to bear in mind.

“American black bears are naturally shy animals but can’t resist free food,” said the organization. “Avoid your birdfeeders becoming bear feeders by removing them from April 1 to November 1 and securing other potential food sources.

Only a handful of resident bears are estimated to live in Rhode Island. RI DEM urges residents to keep bears fearful of humans by never approaching one.

“If there are no food attractants in the area, bears will wander away on their own,” said RI DEM. “If you spot a bear in your neighborhood, keep yourself and pets inside until the bear has left.”

For residents in the Warwick area, the latest sighting is a good sign to keep a watchful eye on pets, but no need to panic.

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