PLYMOUTH, N.C. (WNCT) – The North Carolina Bear Festival has kicked off in Washington County.
The festival offers food vendors, activities, and rides for families. It also gives people in depth looks at the black bears which roam around North Carolina.
Visitors can go through bear country to see live bears and visit the Black Bear Museum.
Plymouth is known for its close encounters with its black bear residents.
Susan Kowalczick has spent most of her life working with wildlife, specifically bears. She works with a sanctuary for wild animals named The Orphaned Wildlife Center.
“We take in all kinds of animals and rehabilitate them and return them to the wild, explained Kowalczick, who’s in town from New York for the NC Bear Festival, where she will showcase the bears she works with. “The ones that we have are very, very small and they need to be fed on a bottle round the clock so it’s a little bit of a process to get them to accept us.”
Some of the bears have been rescued and sent back into the wild, but not all of them. Jenny and Amy are Syrian brown bears. They’ve been with the Orphan Wildlife Center their entire lives.
Tom Harrison, the event coordinator, said this is a time for you to learn about the bears in your backyard, “This is a great opportunity to educate North Carolinians as well as visitors from out of state about this incredible wildlife resource that we have.”
Harrison said Plymouth is known for their enormous bear population and it’s their environment that keeps them there, “We have a tremendous amount of wildlife habitat for the bears to live in, in terms of, we’ve got extensive swamps and forest where the bears live,” said Harrison
Bears like Jenny and Amy are not from North Carolina, but you can see more bears like them in the Plymouth bear museum.