One Virginia bear just was not in the Christmas spirit this year.
A bear in Fairfax County, Virginia appeared on video tearing up Christmas decorations this month. The video led authorities to suspect the bear was responsible for similar acts of vandalism in the area which were initially blamed on local teenagers.
A Shredded Santa
Melissa Ashby awoke on Dec. 3 to find her inflatable, light-up helicopter Santa lawn decoration torn to shreds in her front yard, Fox 5 reports. It was not the first time Christmas decorations in her neighborhood had been damaged by an unknown vandal.
But the video from Ashby’s Nest home security camera revealed that the bear had charged her Christmas decorations and torn them with its teeth – from behind, and then from the front.
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) said that garbage, pet food and bird feeders as well as grills, compost heaps, beehives and fruit trees can lure bears to residential areas. That’s particularly likely to happen if the food supplies in their natural environment are running low.
“In reality, most problems caused by bears are really ‘people problems.’ It is up to humans to change their own behaviors to avoid conflicts,” the VDWR told Newsweek. “Most common bear problems have simple solutions. Typical problems involve turned-over garbage containers, trash littered across the yard, damaged bird feeders, or bears coming onto porches to eat pet food or get into coolers or freezers.”
A Fast Bear
Ashby told Fox 5 that the video footage scared her a bit. Still, she was undaunted and determined to fix her Christmas display.
“He’s fast,” she said of the bear. “And whether it was ‘Hey, I’m not quite sure what you’re doing but I’m going to bite you’… it was kind of scary. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to fix [the Santa] but we’ll get him up and running again.”