Bear Sighted in South Orange, West Orange Monday Morning


Updated: After-school activities in SOMSD are on (no local bear sightings locally since approximately 10 a.m.).

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Updated 2:58 p.m.: After-school activities in SOMSD are on (no bear sightings locally since 10 a.m.).


South Orange police report that a bear — seen in the area of Thorndon Place and Walton Avenue in South Orange around 7 a.m. on Monday, May 13 — was last seen in West Orange on Lawrence Street shortly after 9 a.m.

Regarding the bear sightings, South Orange Police Chief Ernesto Morillo said, “West Orange Police are aware and the Essex County Sheriff’s office was also notified.”

South Orange officials advise residents that they should “NOT RUN” but “group together, & back away slowly facing the bear,” if they encounter a bear.

At 11 a.m., Morillo said that the “last report that we received at 9:18 a.m., is that the bear was seen on Lawrence Street, West Orange.” He added, “We have no other information at this time.”

Nonetheless, the South Orange-Maplewood School District has announced the cancellation of all outdoor activities out of an “abundance of caution.”

“All outdoor activities at all district schools ¬– including open lunch at Columbia High School and outdoor recess at all other schools – are canceled until further notice,” wrote district spokesperson Paul Brubaker in a message to local media late Monday morning.

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