Bear sighted near the “Home of the Valley Cubs”

Courtesy: Calhoun County Sheriff's Office

CALHOUN COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Authorities in Calhoun County are tracking a black bear that was spotted by a deputy early Saturday morning.

While on patrol, a Calhoun County sheriff’s deputy saw the bear walking along a road near Alexandria High School, “Home of the Valley Cubs”. The bear then took off into a nearby field. The bear weighs approximately 100 pounds.

“This particular bear was behaving as a normal black bear should, exhibiting a natural fear of humans and was a minimal threat to the public,” said Steve Bryant, WFF District two Supervising Wildlife Biologist. “It had not caused any property damage, expressed any aggressive behavior and was not acclimated to human activities. In cases such as this, the best option is to allow the bear to return to the area in which it left on its own accord.”

Officers with the Alabama Game and Fish Division, along with deputies and the Weaver Police Department, are searching the area in an attempt to tranquilize the bear and move it to a safer place.

“While tranquilizing equipment was on site, its use is typically the last option due to the risks associated to the bear,” Bryant said.

A bear was last seen in the same area during the January 2014 snow storm. While Alabama has had a resident black bear population for many years in southwest Alabama, an expanding population has been established in northeast Alabama as well.

“During spring and summer, black bear movements increase as adult males expand their home ranges dramatically in search of receptive females and sub-adult males scour new grounds to establish a home range,” said Bryant. “Late spring and early summer are usually the time in which young sub-adult males are expelled from their mother’s territory and often wander miles prior to establishing a territory. While black bear mothers may allow a sub-adult female to become established within her home range, she won’t tolerate any of her male offspring doing the same. This results in the numerous spring and summer sightings of black bears that WFF staff collect and analyze on an annual basis.”

Black bears are typically secretive, shy animals that will avoid human interaction, so it is recommended that if you see a black bear you secure uneaten pet food, trash bins and bird and other wildlife feeders.

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recommends the following if you should encounter a black bear:

  • Do not be frightened.
  • Do not approach the animal.
  • Do not run from the bear; back away slowly.
  • Stand tall and upright and make loud noises.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the bear.
  • Make sure the bear has an unobstructed direction to escape.
  • Never purposely feed a bear.

Anyone who sees a black bear is encouraged to report it to the WFF district wildlife offices. You can do that here.

Copyright 2015 WIAT42 News


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