It looks like Indiana’s newest house guest has already worn out his welcome. Last month state officials confirmed that the first wild black bear had been seen in the state since 1871, but the excitement quickly faded when the bear began ransacking homes near Michigan City while looking for food. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced recently that the bear will be trapped and transported back to Michigan, which has a large and well established bear population. The bear is believed to have entered Indiana from Michigan near South Bend in St. Joseph County.
“He’s now becoming a bit of a problem bear. He’ll come up on porches, close to houses, sometimes looking in windows, and scare people a little bit more. He’s now kind of expecting things from people,” DNR biologist Budd Veverka told the Associated Press.
Wildlife officials describe the bear as a young male, about 250 pounds, and very inquisitive. At that age, the bear is more likely to approach residential areas than more experienced adults, and conservation officers have already reported several confrontations with residents. The bear was seen eating out of bird feeders, drinking from pools, and even attempting to break into houses for food. Michigan City resident Bruce Manner said the bear had been to his house at least three times in the past month.
“When I screamed at him I kind of panicked and I screamed at my wife, I told her to get the pots and pans,” Manner told ABC 7.
A local beekeeper stated that the bear took a bite out of business when it dug into several beehives for honey. Added up, all of these incidents mean that the bear has to go.
“Because the bear has become habituated to this suburban area, visiting sites repeatedly, negative interactions with residents have increased greatly, potentially compromising the safety of both the residents and the bear, the DNR stated.
Until the DNR is able to trap the animal, experts reminded residents to secure trash and birdfeeders, and to avoid feeding the bear.
Black bears are listed in Indiana as exotic animals and are protected under state law.
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