The black bear roaming southern Indiana is a good sign, according to wildlife officials, who say it means adaptable animals are rebounding across the nation.
The most recent reported sighting indicated the bear was in Jefferson County in an area west of Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge and Clifty Falls State Park.
The bear has shown no signs of being a threat to the public but instead is exhibiting behavior consistent with a young male black bear seeking a new home territory.
Use the following steps to avoid or minimize any conflicts with the bear:
- Do not feed the bear intentionally or accidentally
- Remove trash cans from outside areas
- Remove birdfeeders
- Clean and store your grill
- Enjoy it from a distance
- Advertise your presence by shouting and waving your arms and backing away slowly.
The bear, which is believed to have crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky into Indiana, was spotted in Harrison County and Washington County in July.
The bear moved through Pekin and into Henryville and has now been spotted around Madison, IN.
An increase in forested land and changes in hunting regulations have increased black bear numbers in states.
Officials say Indiana could be the next state to have a breeding population. It’s because the hilly forests make a good habitat, and there’s growing numbers of bears in neighboring states.