July 16, 2004
BLACK BEAR SPOTTED IN HIGHLAND COUNTY
Adult female black bear making her way through Ohio
XENIA, OHIO - The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife has confirmed sightings of a black bear in the Highland County Area.
"The bear was trapped and tagged with a radio collar in West Virginia," said Dave Kohler, assistant wildlife manager. "On July 2 she was released in Mason County, West Virginia and later that day turned up some 30 miles away in Gallipolis, Ohio. This bear has traveled as far north as Circleville. The female black bear weighing in at 198 pounds has not caused any problems and does not stay in any one location for any length of time."
"The adult female bear was seen on Tuesday and Wednesday night in the Greenfield areas," said Kohler. "She was last sighted on Thursday between Paint Creek State Park and Bainbridge, Ohio. We expect she will head for more suitable territory and move out of the area over the weekend. She could be heading for Ross, Pike, or Adams counties."
Ohio has approximately 50 resident black bears. Most of Ohio's bears can be found in the northeastern and southeastern forested areas of the state. Although, most bears are reclusive and stay away from humans the young bears that are about 18 months of age that are being forced out of the adult females territory tend to wind up near humans.
These mobile bears are referred to as transient bears. Some of them travel to the Buckeye State from West Virginia and Pennsylvania but most return to their home state in favor of familiar territory and no people.
"People might encounter the rare chance to see a wild black bear which is exciting," said Kohler. "But, we want them to remember it is a wild animal and should not be approached or fed. Keep a safe distance between you and the bear, as it is a wild animal. Remember a fed bear is a dead bear." The ODNR Division of Wildlife encourages people who have sighted a black bear to call the district office at 937-372-9261 to report the sighting.