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More bear sightings in Kent County | News

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More bear sightings in Kent County
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KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM) - There were two more local bear sightings overnight - one in Lowell, one in Ada. They come after a bear was spotted in Greenville on Mother's Day, then two more near Lowell the next day.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the black bear population is so healthy in Northern Michigan that bears are migrating south to find their own territory.

Experts say black bears are not aggressive. "In my opinion, you shouldn't be afraid of them, but have respect," says Paul Suplinskas, Zookeeper at John Ball Zoo.

They currently have two bears at their exhibit: A brown bear and a grizzly bear. Neither is native to Michigan.

"They're larger than the black bears we have in Michigan. Generally, they are carnivores and more aggressive than our black bears would be."

The bears were brought to the zoo because they were a nuisance in the wild.  "One of them was in a fish cannery eating fish because he was orphaned. The other was at Yellowstone getting into cars."

As for black bears, if they're not hibernating in the winter, they are likely foraging for food. That's why experts say you should never purposefully feed any kind of bear.

"Some people do. That's a bad idea. Some people have bird feeders. They are attracted to those. You don't want to put pet food dishes on the porch."

And if you want to watch them, that's ok. Black bears will not come to you. Just keep your distance and if you're lucky, they will wander around for a bit, and then go away.

So far, the DNR has been unable to trap one. They would like to tag-it with radio collar and study its habits in Southern Lower Michigan.

 

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