Wildlife experts weigh in on local black bear sightings - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Wildlife experts weigh in on local black bear sightings

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CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Black bear sightings in Kentuckiana are causing a lot of excitement and concern, and now wildlife experts are weighing in on how to protect yourself and the bears.

A bear spotted in Hardin County in early July is likely the same one spotted in Corydon, Ind., earlier this week. It is believed that a second, separate bear, was roaming Bernheim Forest over the weekend.

With all the excitement, officials want residents to be careful.

"One of the most important messages we can send out to the residents of southern Indiana is that feeding bears is one of the worst things you can do, not only for people, but for the bears themselves," said Falyn Owens, Urban Wildlife Biologist with Department of Natural Resources.

Wildlife experts say its best to let the bear do his thing.

"In all likelihood, this is going to be a more and more regular occurrence. And we do not want to set the precedence that managing these situations is to harass the bear by capturing it and transporting it somewhere else," Owens said.

Black bears are shy, but when they learn to associate humans with food, they can become aggressive.

"Bears a have very, very keen sense of smell. Black bears can smell scents from a mile away," Owens said.

To keep bears away, make sure your car is sealed up and locked up. Owens also recommends cleaning off your grill and storing it inside if possible.

Owens says bird feeders should be placed at least 10 feet off the ground and away from trees. Harvest ripe produce from fruit trees and gardens, and do not leave fruits and meats in compost piles. Another tip: keep all pet food indoors.

And if you do find yourself facing a bear, Owens says do not run.

"Rather than running away, you should face the bear and back away slowly. You can also look intimidating, look large, raise your hands above your head, make loud noises," Owens said.

With an expanding bear population driving these bears to our area, they may not be the last we see.

"We cannot expect that this is going to be a solitary instance," Owens said.

The Corydon bear was last spotted in Washington County, Ind. Wildlife experts have no idea where it will head next. They say male bears typically wander, but may head back to where they came from to find a mate.

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