Photo provided
A Forest Lane resident sent this photo of scat to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has confirmed that the droppings could belong to a bear — or a coyote.

Photo provided A Forest Lane resident sent this photo of scat to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has confirmed that the droppings could belong to a bear — or a coyote.

Social media, berry-laden scat back bear sightings

Department of Wildlife official says it’s possible, but more likely coyote feces.

A South Whidbey man may have discovered the answer to the age-old question: Does a bear poop in the woods?

A pile of suspected bear scat and the sighting of a bear-shaped animal by a teenage girl has people on social media speculating that a black bear may be roaming South Whidbey, though a wildlife official confirmed it’s not the wandering male that made regional headlines a couple of years ago.

Ralph Downes, a state Department of Fish and Wildlife enforcement officer, said a Forest Lane resident reported finding bear poop and sent a photograph to the department July 30.

While Downes acknowledged that the berry-laden excrement could indeed have come from a bear, he said it could also have another origin — coyotes, being opportunists, will also consume berries.

“It might be a bear,” he said. “It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely.”

Downes added that the sample was not lab-tested, so there is no way to know for sure. Other people joining the bear frenzy have posted poop photos on Facebook, but he said they all appear to be from deer.

The could-be bear droppings may coincide with recent confirmed sightings of a young male black bear on Fidalgo Island a few weeks ago.

Downes described this bear as a bit of a recluse that hung out around forested areas of Anacortes. It was last seen near Campbell Lake.

“Truth is, you can only go so far east or west and if you want to keep walking, south’s your direction,” Downes pointed out.

It wouldn’t be unheard-of for a bear to travel from Fidalgo to South Whidbey on a quest for companionship.

Downes confirmed that it is not the same as the “island-hopping” bear of 2019, whose lust for a partner took him to Fidalgo, Guemes, Cyprus, Blakely, Orcas, Shaw, San Juan, Lopez and Decatur islands before he was caught near Burlington and safely relocated.

If a bear on South Whidbey does exist, it likely won’t be in the area for long.

“I assume if he was spending any time in an area, we’d probably get more reports,” Downes said.

Ruby Bond, 16, said she was taking her dog on a run the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 3 when she saw what she described as a medium-sized, fluffy black bear.

She hasn’t reported the sighting to Fish and Wildlife, so Downes was unable to comment on it.

Around 6 a.m. near Quigley Road, Bond’s dog started to growl at something. Bond turned around and couldn’t believe what she saw.

“I got very stern, pointed my finger at the bear and repeatedly told it to go home and finally it ran off,” she said.

“My mom didn’t believe it, even told me I needed glasses,” she said.

The creature she saw was “creeping up” behind her, about 15 feet away.

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