Williamsburg Independent School is home of the “Jackets,” but if recent activity is any indication, another forest creature is apparently making its case for a changing of the mascot in Williamsburg.
In recent days there have been plenty sightings of the furry creatures in town to the point where Kentucky Fish and Wildlife even relocated one bear this on June 18.
“We had been working on it all week. We started getting multiple sightings, more than usual. Usually, we get two or three bear sightings this time of year,” said Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird. “The bear that was removed consistently was coming back to the same dumpster night after night. It was to the point where it wasn’t afraid so we contacted Fish and Wildlife.”
Fish and Wildlife then sent down a bear technician, who observed the bear’s behavior and decided that bear needed to be removed from the area based upon its behavior, Bird said.
He noted authorities believe there are three or four other bears that are still in the area.
“For two or three days after that we still had bears running across people’s back yards, at the college, at the city park, everywhere,” Bird said.
Bird said that all police and Fish and Wildlife can do at this point is just monitor the bears, and make sure that the bears are afraid of people when they see them, and keep track to see if they come back to one spot repeatedly.
Bird said that he spoke to a bear biologist last Friday, who educated him significantly on the subject.
As of last of June 19, there had been over 800 calls about bear sightings in Kentucky.
“The biggest thing that the biologist shared with me is we are a bear county. People are going to see them. The reason we are seeing them so prevalently right now is because the food source in the downtown area right now is abundant,” Bird said.
There are a few steps that the public and businesses can take to reduce the number of bear sightings, such as not putting bird feeders out right now, not keeping food outside for your pets, and strapping down dumpsters and garbage cans with food inside.
“It only takes a few minutes. If you do that, I am told the bear will move on rather quickly. Whereas, if you give them a food source, they are going to come back,” Bird said.
“The biologist tells me that the blackberries are very plentiful in Kentucky this year, and just as soon as the blackberries develop it will be like a light switch and the bears will be almost non-existent.”