Police call off search for Clermont Co. bear
MIAMI TOWNSHIP, CLERMONT COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - Miami Township Police are no longer searching for a male black bear Tuesday but a police presence still remains to stop the bear from going any further north.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife said they will not capture the bear and plan to let it go naturally. The wildlife division said they've had calls about black bear since Friday, but Tuesday is the first time it has interacted with humans.
The bear is not a threat to humans and will leave people alone as long as they don't bother it, according to state wildlife officer Gus Kiebel.
The animal was first spotted Tuesday at about 10:30 a.m. in the 1000 block of Hayward Circle, Miami Township, according to dispatch. Miami Township Police continued to track the bear until 4 p.m.
The bear, who apparently came from Kentucky, was also spotted Monday in nearby Batavia Township. Black bears are an endangered species in Ohio.
Kathy Garza-Behr, an ODNR spokeswoman, said the agency has reports from the Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife about a similar bear moving along the northern counties of Kentucky and it's probably the same bear. She said it's not unlikely the bear swam across the Ohio River as bears are good swimmers.
The bear, 2, weighs about 85 pounds.
Garza-Behr said the bear is "out looking for a girlfriend" and he won't find it in Ohio. The state has a limited bear population and he'll have more luck in Kentucky, West Virginia or Pennsylvania to find a mate.
If the public sees the bear, it should give it space and not try to impede it. Residents should call the Ohio Department Natural of Resources District 5 office at 937-372-9261.
Garza-Behr said officials would like the bear to get to a more rural place. Bears are protected in Ohio and killing them is not allowed where numbers are very low.
"I came out my front door and I was halfway down my driveway, and I heard two doors down, the neighbor's kids screaming and crying. Then, in the corner of my vision, comes this adult black bear, running as fast as it could," said Sharon Clonch, who saw the bear in her neighborhood.
Black bears in Ohio
ODNR said black bears historically roamed the state but unregulated hunting and habitat loss extirpated them by 1850 in the state. Today the population is small -- about 50 to 100 -- and is growing, ODNR said. Black bears are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and plants.
FOX19's Lindsey Wopschall, Chris Lower, Ben Katko, Kara Foxx and Kate Flexter contributed.
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