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The Suburbanite
  • Black bear wandering through Summit County

  • Area law enforcement and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) officials are “watching” a black bear that has been wandering the area for about a week.

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  • Area law enforcement and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) officials are “watching” a black bear that has been wandering the area for about a week.
    “It is confirmed,” said Ken Ray Captain of the Springfield Police Department. “The black bear is currently in the Lake James area of the township.”
    The bear had been spotted in several areas of the township including, Myersville Road, Rolling Meadows and in a woods by the high school.
    “We are monitoring it,” Ray said, “(and) making sure to keep people out of harm’s way.”
    Laurie Graber, wildlife research technician for ODNR said, “It appears to be a juvenile male black bear that has probably been set out on its own by its mother and is just wandering.”
    She added usually the bears move from Pennsylvania, which has the of largest black bear population and travel west during this time of year.
    The young bear has not been threatening and not really caused much damage. So far, the bear has reportedly gone after a bird feeder and deer feeder.
    “He has been staying to himself and so far not into real heavy populated areas,” said Ray. “They are usually non aggressive and avoid people. They are primarily vegetarians, but love trash cans.”
    Graber said this bear is believed to be the same bear that has been wandering several counties over the last week. He was first spotted in the Ravenna Arsenal area, moved to Kent, Stow, Bath, Medina County and Wadsworth. He was then spotted June 15 in New Franklin, June 16 in Green and then in Springfield.
    “This bear has made a big loop around Akron,” said Graber.
    It is unusual to see bears in these areas, but there are bears that do winter in certain areas of Ohio.
    Graber said if you know there is a bear in your area it is a good idea to let you neighbors know just to keep an eye open. Also, to take down bird feeders, keep pet food inside, and don’t put your trash out until the night of pickup.
    She also said to give him space, don’t follow him around, if he is cornered in an area back off.
    “Any animal will be aggressive if they are cornered,” Graber said. “There is no need for people to follow him around. We have had people go out and search for a bear in the past. Obviously it is something we don’t recommend” as it will cause stress for the animal.
    According to Graber it is best to let the bear roam, do his thing and move on. Typically, he would only be in the area for a day or two.
    In a case that the bear does get in a very populated area or causes trouble ODNR comes out to help the police department get him to move on.
    Page 2 of 2 -  “We use rubber buckshot to harass him to move on,” Graber said noting the bear is not harmed. “It gives him a little sting in the hind end.”
    If you see a bear call the police department in your area so they can keep an eye on him until he moves on.