North Caldwell and Cedar Grove officials have issued alerts about a black bear spotted in their towns. The North Caldwell warning centered on the northern end of Smull Avenue, while Cedar Grove said a bear was seen on Pine Drive, which is not far away.
There have been bears in this area–and even in Verona–before. In 2022, a Brookdale neighborhood resident discovered one going through his trash. There was one on Crestmont in 2017, and near the Claridge towers in 2016. And in June 2013, a bear wandered through the area for several days before settling in a tree on Afterglow Avenue. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Fish & Wildlife Division says the state bear population has been rising and there have been confirmed bear sightings in all 21 New Jersey counties.
The agency says that the best way for homeowners to reduce their chances of having a bear in their yard is to not leave food out. That means securing the lids to your garbage cans and emptying bird feeders. Do not feed pets outside and if your pets are out during the day, make sure they are inside at night.
If a bear does make a visit, the agency says that black bears are typically not aggressive and tend to be wary of people. But it may try to intimidate you by popping its jaws, huffing or swatting the ground, and sometimes making a bluff charge.
If one does show up in Verona, you can report it to the Verona Police Department, either by calling 911 or the main number, which is 973-239-5000. You can report aggressive bears to Fish & Wildlife at (908) 735-8793 or the DEP Hotline at 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337).