Courtesy Andy Tweed
In this image from 2011, Andy Tweed holds a black bear that was found and darted at Davies Plantation.
State wildlife officials made the scene of a bear sighting in North Memphis Thursday afternoon.
Andy Tweed, a Shelby County wildlife official with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, said four or five residents in the area said they saw the bear, though he hadn’t yet seen any photo or video evidence.
Tweed said he was readying to search for hard evidence of a black bear in the neighborhood, including claw marks and hair. Noting that a school was very close to the sighting location, he said he hoped to find evidence “fairly quick.”
“We do have black bears working their way through the area, usually a young male that’s been kicked out of a family group,” Tweed said. “Coming from Arkansas or East Tennessee, they do traverse the through the area quite often.”
Young, male black bears usually weigh in at around 120-130 pounds, Tweed said. Anyone who may see the bear shouldn’t provoke it by throwing rocks at it, chasing it, or cornering it, he said.
He said to leave the bear alone and that if it is here, more than likely it is looking to “get through to another area.” Witnesses should call the Memphis Police Department, he said, and 901-545-COPS.
“This is such a heavily populated area, if I do see him, I’m going to dart him, tranquilize him, and haul him off to a bear sanctuary in East Tennessee or to one of our wildlife management areas,” Tweed said.
Finally, Tweed noted that his agency gets black bear sightings around Memphis “all the time,” though they are usually from hunters or fishers.