Bear cub visits Suffolk church

Published 9:27 pm Monday, July 11, 2011

A black bear cub takes a nap in a tree off Nansemond Parkway on Monday afternoon. The bear appeared near Rose of Sharon United Holiness Church.

It’s a bear-y good time to be in Suffolk for local ursine citizens.

A black bear cub was found relaxing in a tree outside Rose of Sharon United Holiness Church on Monday, deacon Donald Trusty said.

Trusty was at the church to meet an air-conditioning repairman when he saw the repairman pull into the church parking lot on Nansemond Parkway and stop suddenly.

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Trusty went outside to see what was going on, and the repairman pointed to the cub, which was on the ground at the time. The two men watched the bear cub scamper up the tree and come to rest on a branch about halfway up.

Trusty said it’s probably the same bear that paid the church a visit near the end of Sunday services this weekend. A police officer called Sunday morning to warn the parishioners not to go outside because the bear was on the porch, Trusty said.

He was concerned about the bear being nearby on Monday because a meeting was planned at the church for that night.

“You don’t want to walk out of church at night and have something sneak up on you, or you sneak up on it,” Trusty said.

Nearby resident Amanda Lyons was not surprised at the bear’s visit.

“They’re all over,” she said, adding a bear crossed Nansemond Parkway in front of her car last summer and her mother had seen two in the area around Christmas.

Trusty contacted Animal Control, and they responded and determined the bear was not a threat, city spokeswoman Debbie George said. She said the bear would probably go away if left alone.

The bear reportedly did just that later in the evening.

The sighting comes less than a week after the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries removed an adult male bear from Route 164 in Portsmouth, near the Suffolk line, after it was spotted near the road about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.