ODNR:_Bear sightings will increase

Akron – During the next few months, Ohioans could expect to see
more black bears as the young bruins leave their mothers in search
of their own territory.

In 2008, approximately 29 different black bears were confirmed
in the Buckeye State according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
While the population of bears in Ohio may not exactly increase in
2009, sightings of the burly creatures are expected.

“Dispersal occurs annually when an adult female bear (referred
to as a sow) boots her one-and-a-half year old cubs out of the
family unit so she can breed and raise a new litter of cubs,” said
Dan Kramer, wildlife management supervisor for northeast Ohio.
Young females have smaller ranges and seldom venture as far as
males to establish territories.

The Division of Wildlife estimates the Buckeye bear population
at about 60 black bears living in Ohio year round.

Last year, a total of 105 reported sightings of black bears
occurred in 21 Ohio counties. Most sightings occurred in northeast
and southeast Ohio.

“In northeast Ohio, 93 sightings were reported in 11 counties;
32 sightings were verified by tracks, scat, pictures or other
method,” Kramer says. Ashtabula led the state with 65 sightings of
which 25 were confirmed.

Every year, many bear reports in Ohio are associated with
nuisance situations. Once people become “beareducated” conflicts
with bears often diminish. Moving bird feeders higher, keeping
trash inside until pick up day, and cleaning up after grilling out
all help to deter bears from becoming nuisances.

Efforts to monitor the Ohio black bear population have been
supported by the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species fund,
which receives donations from Ohioans through the state income tax
check-off program and by the purchase of cardinal license
plates.

The black bear is protected by state law.

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