Black bear spotted in St. Joseph County northwest of South Bend

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

A black bear spotted wandering through southwest Michigan has crossed the border and has been spotted in St. Joseph County.

Some residents claimed they saw the bear northwest of South Bend in St. Joseph County and those reports were confirmed when bear scat was found, according to a news release from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

“With black bears in some surrounding states, we were expecting a bear to show up eventually,” said Mitch Marcus, Wildlife Section chief for the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. “It’s quite unusual and exciting for a Michigan lakeshore black bear to move this far south.”

Young male black bears are known to roam around an area after birth, but this is the first time a bear has been spotted in Indiana in more than 140 years, according to the DNR.

Marcus expects this black bear to return to Michigan.

Black bears are usually shy and non-aggressive, so human contact is rare, according to the DNR. Anyone who encounters a black bear outside should yell to scare the bear away and back away slowly, but should not turn their back or else they made be chased.

If it is safe to do so, the DNR wants citizens to snap a photo or record a video if they see a black bear.

Black bear sightings can be reported to the DNR via email at dfwinput@dnr.IN.gov or by calling 812-334-1137 during regular business hours. Photos and videos, with a maximum file size of 15 MB, may be sent via email.