CORYDON, Ind. – A black bear has been spotted in Harrison County in southern Indiana, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
A Harrison County homeowner first reported the bear after they saw it going through their trash around 9 p.m. Sunday. When conservation officers went to the home, the bear was nowhere to be found.
A second person reported seeing the bear near State Road 62 Monday morning.
DNR says the bear likely swam across the Ohio River from Kentucky, where there’s an expanding black bear population.
These sighting comes roughly a year after a black bear wandered into northwest Indiana from Michigan. That bear was the first verified presence of a bear in Indiana in more than 140 years. That bear returned to Michigan after several weeks.
Conservation officers want to make the general public aware that black bear attacks are rare. They are shy by nature and tend to avoid human contact.
DNR wildlife biologists will monitor the bear to determine whether to allow it to remain where it is or trap it and relocate it to a more suitable environment for a bear. That decision will be based on whether the bear exhibits nuisance behavior and continues to come into close contact with humans.
“It’s best if people just leave the bear alone and let it be a part of the natural environment,” said Josh Griffin of the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.
“It is possible black bears may re-establish populations in the southern half of our state,” said Sam Whiteleather of the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. “Education efforts on how to deal with nuisance black bears would be conducted to help ensure black bears are enjoyed from a distance.”
DNR encourages people to report bear sightings to dfwinput@dnr.IN.gov or by calling (812) 334-1137 during regular business hours.