OXFORD, AL (WBRC) - Oxford police say a bear was spotted in a neighborhood on Friday morning.
Police Chief Bill Partridge tweeted an image of the bear, saying it was seen on Lori Lane around 8:30 a.m., which is off of Boiling Springs Road. The photo shows a black bear crossing the street in a neighborhood.
Captain L.G. Owens says Lt. Mick Casalini with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources visited the area after the sightings.
Authorities say the bear is most likely passing through looking for a mate -- and food. They urge residents to make sure there are no food sources left outside, including pet food and garbage.
Captain Owens says you should never approach a bear, even if you are in a vehicle, and do not follow it. He added that it is against the law to harm or shoot a bear.
Chief Partridge is asking anyone who sees the bear to call the Oxford PD Animal Control as soon as possible.
The Oxford Police Department phone number is 256-831-3121.
A bear was reportedly seen in the White Plains area on Thursday.
John Draper with the Auburn University Bear Project offers tips on what to do if you encounter a bear. He said the bear population has been growing in the Southeast.
If you see a bear in the distance and it doesn't notice you, Draper says to just quietly back away.
If the bear does notice you, Draper said to make yourself look bigger and talk to the bear so it know you're a person. He recommended saying something loudly, like "Hey bear, whoa bear," and walking slowly away.