A three-foot tall black bear had Princeton officials scouring both the Township and the Borough on Wednesday, but the bear is still on the loose, as of Thursday morning.
Shortly after 7 a.m. on Thursday, some Township residents received an automated phone notification alerting them about the bear and warning people not to put garbage out early today and not to approach the bear if it's nearby. Instead, call police at 609-921-2100.
The bear had quite the day on Wednesday, first spotted by a Plainsboro resident around 12:30 between Thanet Road and Governor's Lane, near the Princeton Shopping Center, according to Princeton Township Police Sgt. Mike Cifelli.
Police and Princeton Animal Control Officer Mark Johnson spent hours trying to contain the bear in the woods between Terhune Road and the Princeton Shopping Center. Two news helicopters flew overhead.
Notifications were made to the nearby Princeton Charter School and Princeton Regional Schools.
By evening, the bear had apparently migrated into Princeton Borough and was spotted about 50 feet up in a tree in Princeton Cemetery at the corner of Witherspoon and Wiggins streets.
A large crowd gathered along Witherspoon and there were shrieks as excited onlookers watched bear climb down from the tree and make its way back in the direction of the Township.
"Obviously, if you see the bear, don't approach it and don't attempt to make contact with it," Cifelli said. "And call us right away."
Black bears typically come out of hibernation in late spring and are often spotted in the area, according to police. Last year, there were multiple sightings of a bear along Cherry Hill Road for several days before the animal apparently left the area.
Typically bears do not approach people, police said.
Patch reader Leslie N. on Wednesday night nicknamed Princeton's newest furry resident
"He was spotted above Paul Tulane's grave earlier. And he's little for a bear. How about Tu-Tu Bear," she wrote.