MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dozens of people showed up at the Jonesboro Home Depot on Wednesday, after word got out there was a black bear in the parking lot.
It was one of several sightings of the bear in the southern part of the city over the last couple of days. Rachel Anderson, Senior Video Specialist for the Jonesboro Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center, said she began monitoring their cameras after the parks department called and said someone had spotted a bear at Craighead Forest Park.
“They said, ‘Can you check your cameras,'” said Anderson. “I didn’t even get the camera pulled up yet, and I heard over the radio, the scanners, that there were four or five calls all at once to dispatch, that they had seen a bear running across the interstate.”
In videos provided by the Jonesboro Police Department, you can see the bear leave the Home Depot near a busy roadway, and videos of the bear near Craighead Park and later on the north side of town.
“Our main concern is that we don’t want it to get near a busy intersection or get run over or get in a wreck or get near a school or get near kids,” Anderson said. “We don’t want to bother the bear. We want to let him go on his journey wherever he’s going, but we don’t want him to get in an area where he might feel threatened and need to do whatever bears do.”
The Jonesboro Police Department is telling residents not to approach, feed, or talk to the bear.
The city said Jonesboro Animal Control, police, and Arkansas Game and Fish officers are attempting to capture the bear, but Anderson said it appears the bear has left the city limits.
“He was last seen on Johnson at 3 a.m. headed north, so that’s not too far from the county line. So, he probably went into Green County at this point. He’s kind of their problem now.”
The black bear population in Arkansas is estimated at 3,000 animals, and that number has been increasing in recent years, the University of Arkansas says.
If you see the bear, you are urged to call the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at (833)345-0325 or the Jonesboro Police Department at (870)935-5551.