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Bear spotted in Illinois

Bear spotted in Illinois in June of 2014
Bear spotted in Illinois in June of 2014DeKalb County Sheriff's Department

A bear sighting has been reported in Illinois by DeKalb County residents. A sheriff’s deputy also saw the black bear Wednesday morning. The bear is believed to be the same one that was seen last week near Rockford in the northwestern portion of the state, according to a Sun-Times report on Wednesday.

Commander Hank Frazier of Illinois’ Department of Natural Resources said that it is not certain that the bear spotted on Wednesday morning is the same one that was seen last week, but, he said, bear spotting are unusually rare in Illinois. Most recently, someone claims to have seen the bear at approximately 8:20 on Wednesday morning. The sighting was near the intersection of Route 23 and Route 72 in an unincorporated area just east of Genoa.

JoAnn Watson, a Genoa resident with an aldermanic position in the town, saw the black bear at Café 72 in Genoa. That restaurant is at the intersection of Route 23 and Route 72. The bear traveled from there, heading south to Danders Woods. From Danders Woods, the animal went west to Ellwood Green.

At approximately 9:20 a.m., a sheriff’s deputy claims to have seen the bear. At that time, the bear was near Derby Line Road which is just south of Genoa. According to the sheriff’s office, the bear was then headed into a heavily wooded area. Most recently, the bear was seen at about 10:30 a.m. in a wooded area near Plank Road and Luken Road in an unincorporated area northeast of Sycamore – not far from the city of DeKalb.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the bear is likely a young male that was forced to leave his habitat to make space for new cubs. Peggy Doty, who is a wildlife management representative with the University of Illinois and works with the Russels Forest Preserve outside of Genoa, said that the bear is approximately 150 pounds. Also, it is apparently seeking to avoid people. Witnesses who saw the bear say it is about six feet tall. The bear is reportedly not aggressive and hasn’t hurt anyone. Yet, being a wild animal, people are advised not to approach it.

WBBM-AM radio in Chicago suggests not leaving any food out on patios or in one’s yard. Grills and anything with the scent of food should be stored in a garage or somewhere away from the bear’s reach. It is believed that the animal is searching for food as it roams near homes.