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Black Bear Sightings on the Rise in Northeast Ohio

A black bear visited Twinsburg, Bedford Heights and Solon last week, and these kinds of visits may become more common.

. More of his friends may be coming to visit in the coming years.

That's because, wildlife officials say, the black bear population in the region is on the rise.

Ohio's Division of Wildlife told the Plain Dealer that the number of bear sightings have increased five fold in the last decade or so, to more than 150 last year. Wildlife officials say there are as many as 100 black bears living in Ohio.

A family from Chicago got a picture of a black bear crossing the road in Twinsburg's Liberty Park on Labor Day last week, according to the Twinsburg Bulletin.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Black bears were once prevalent in Ohio, but deforestation and land clearing slashed their population. By 1850, there were no black bears in Ohio.

Because wildlife officials have seen female bears and cubs in Ohio, they know the population is growing.

If you see a bear in the wild (or your backyard), don't approach it. Wildlife officials say people should simply leave the animal alone and let it leave.

"Bears are usually afraid of people," according to a state wildlife website about bears, with an added reminder: "Black bears are protected by Ohio wildlife laws and injuring or killing one is illegal."

Chief Chris Viland echoed these sentiments, asking residents to . He added that police won't respond to a report of a bear sighting unless there is an imminent danger.

Still, you should report the sighting to police, which helps officials track the bears.

Barry Hungray September 12, 2012 at 12:32 AM
I agree with Michelle. The bear is a sumptuous and delicious beast of nature that should be preserved. After their numbers have replenished, a select few will be chosen for "natural selection" of sorts, and be sold to the finest of restaurants in Cleveland. Could this be a way to attract TV's Gordon Ramsay to our fair city?
Herbert Rauch September 12, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Sometimes I look at myself and wish I were a bear. My skin is too hairless for my taste.
Candice J. September 12, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Herb, did you know that Rogaine for women can be used to regrow arm hair for men? Food for thought, so long as you're not nursing. ;)
Dicky Welt September 12, 2012 at 01:11 AM
A black bear in our own backyard? Say it ain't so!
Punny Boo Boo September 12, 2012 at 02:04 AM
I'm just CHOMPING AT THE BIT to get this bear situation under control. I can't BEAR this FUR much longer. It's PAWSibliy the worst bear situation in EARS. Let's SNOUT forget about our furry friends.

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