Bear in the city

A black bear that had been roaming around Lancaster city for about a day looks down from a tree behind a house on Chestnut Street, Thursday, August 15, 2019. Less than a year later, another black bear was spotted in East Hempfield Township, police said. 

Michele Ober has seen a variety of wildlife in the backyard of her East Hempfield Township home, including turkeys, foxes, raccoons and deer.

But on Friday and Saturday, a new wild creature visited her backyard: a black bear. 

Ober said the black bear stole corn off her bird feeder and ripped through her trash. It even ate the week-old pasta salad she had thrown away.

Ober was able to capture some of the bear's impromptu visit on camera.

Despite roughing up her trash and bird feeder, the bear was mostly "respectful of property," Ober said. Her flowerbeds were left untouched, which she appreciated. 

Despite the relief that her flowers survived the bear's visit, Ober said she was scared and intimidated by the bear, which she described as being about 5-feet tall when on its hind legs. 

"I'm on full alert," she said. 

Ober called East Hempfield Township police and the Pennsylvania Game Commission to report the bear.

East Hempfield Township police said they received two reports of bear sightings over the weekend, including Ober's. A bear was also spotted in Columbia Monday morning. 

The game commission told Ober to put away her bird feeders and trash can to prevent the bear from returning. 

Bears aren't a predatory concern for people, Dustin Stoner, an information and education supervisor at the game commission, told LNP | LancasterOnline last year.  

"Keep a safe distance," Stoner said. "Do not try to approach the bear."

If Ober spots the bear in her backyard again, the game commission said it would set up a trap on her property. They'd lure the bear with sweet treats, like doughnuts and cake. 

"I just hope somebody can catch him and give him a decent life," she said. 

If caught, the bear would likely be relocated to a more suitable area. The bear would also be tagged so that the game commission can estimate the bear population in the state. 

The bear spotted in Lancaster city last year was relocated to northern Lebanon County after being caught, the game commission told LNP | LancasterOnline. 

Ober's daughter, who was worried about the bear's well-being, suggested she leave out water or a hamburger for the bear, but the Pennsylvania Game Commission said leaving food out will only keep the wild animals around. 

The game commission recommends removing bird feeders, pet food and exposed garbage in order to prevent close encounters with bears.