Police search for black bear reportedly roaming Frayser neighborhood

Officer searching for bear in Frayser. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Officer searching for bear in Frayser. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Frayser community remains on high alert with police warned families to watch their children as a black bear remains on the loose near Whitney and North Watkins.

Tennessee wildlife experts are on standby and hoping for the next spotting of the black bear.

Memphis Police Department received multiple calls about a black bear on Alta Vista Avenue at about 10:45 a.m.

Officers said they saw a big hole in one fence in the area.

MPD and Memphis Animal services searched for the black bear, even using a helicopter, on Thursday.

Neighbors reported seeing the black bear jumping over fences and running wild.

MPD called animal experts and asked for air support to help search for the bear.

A Tennessee Wildlife Resource agent participating in the search said officials have not seen the bear. They are still investigating based on witness reports.

The agents said the black bear is most likely a young male bear, which would not constitute a serious danger to the public. He said the young male bear would be more afraid of people than people should be of him. However, the agent did say parents should keep a close eye on their children until the bear is caught.

Memphis Zoo said all of its bears are accounted for. Zoo officials said it is not uncommon for black bears to be in West Tennessee this time of year. However, it is unusual to find black bears in Shelby County.

Matt Thomas, an animal operations director at the Memphis Zoo, say Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee are black bear country.

"Honestly, black bears are very scared of people and really don't want any part of that," Thomas said. "So they're just looking for food. So if you do happen to see one, keep your distance and don't feed them."

If you've seen the black bear, experts say call 911. Don't try to capture him yourself.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.