Watch fun-loving black bear play with soccer ball, inspect trampoline in NY backyard

A woman working from home witnessed a black bear wander into her backyard and head toward a soccer ball.

At first, Anna Cory-Watson, of Wappingers Falls, New York, noticed the black bear March 21 out of the corner of her eye through her window and blinked to make sure it wasn’t a huge dog, she told McClatchy News in a message. When she realized it truly was a bear, she pulled out her camera.

“Everything that unfolded was completely surreal,” Cory-Watson said.

The black bear picked up the soccer ball and is seen gripping it with its mouth before rolling on its back, giving it playful kicks in footage of the fun shared to YouTube by Cory-Watson.

In another clip, the bear has a backyard hose in its mouth and is seen running and spinning around with it.

At some point, Cory-Watson’s partner drove into the driveway of the home and the bear disappeared — before it returned to inspect her trampoline, she said.

This photo shows the black bear checking out Anna Cory-Watson’s trampoline in Wappingers Falls, New York.
This photo shows the black bear checking out Anna Cory-Watson’s trampoline in Wappingers Falls, New York.

The video shows the bear walking around her trampoline before poking its head out of the net.

Other clips show the bear with a broom in his mouth and pulling at another hose attached to Cory-Watson’s above-ground pool.

“I don’t know what attracted the bear to our yard. We don’t have any garbage outside for obvious reasons, and no other sources of food,” Cory-Watson said. “But whatever reason he came, he definitely stayed for the toys!”

The sighting was the first time Cory-Watson has seen a bear in person, she told McClatchy News.

Black bears are known as curious creatures and can encounter people when exploring for food, according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, which warns to not feed these mammals as feeding bears is against state law.

In New York, more state residents have moved from urban regions, such as New York City, to more rural areas where bears are expected to roam, according to the DEC.

“At the same time, black (bears) are expanding their range,” the DEC wrote in a report published in 2007. “The fact remains that people who live and recreate in bear range can expect to encounter bears.”

Cory-Watson told McClatchy News there were many bear sightings in her area in 2022, and she hoped to see one.

She believes one reason why there have been more black bear sightings is overdevelopment.

“We have a lot of woods around our house that will never be developed, but the amount of natural habitat they have is shrinking by the day,” Cory-Watson said.

Wappingers Falls is located in New York’s Hudson Valley region east of the Hudson River.

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