Black bear in Seneca County? - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Black bear in Seneca County?

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It's rare a black bear roams into the Northwest Ohio region, but wildlife leaders say a homeowner in Seneca County found evidence: large tracks in the snow and scat droppings.

It happened Northeast of Fostoria in Jackson Township near the intersection of Township Road 172 and Township Road 53.

No one has actually seen the black bear yet, but wildlife experts say it is shy and staying away from people.

"Every time you go to the door you look around and see if he's out here," says Marlyn Findley who has lived in the rural community for 60 years.

"I don't think there's one. I really don't," says James Macko who has lived in the community for more than 30 years.

"We look at the size and the shape and the contents in the scat and everything is pointing to the right direction that it is a bear," says John Windau with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

Windau says the last time someone spotted a black bear in the region was seven years ago.

That evidence is in the lobby of the DNR Division of Wildlife District 2 headquarters in Findlay.

It was hit and killed by a vehicle in Fulton County.

"For the most part Northwest Ohio, it's not exactly prime bear habitat," says Windau.

Black bears pretty much disappeared from most of Ohio in the mid-1800's due to deforestation and the growth of farming. However, some young males are now making their way back from Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Southern Ohio.

"This is a really good thing. I think people should be excited that it shows that the habitats improving for wildlife not just bears but for wildlife in general," says Windau.

Marlyn Findley believes the bear has been in the area since the fall.

"The guy that farms the field around us here got off of the combine and he saw this big pile of doo-doo and said boy that's some big dog. Evidently it wasn't the dog," says Findley.

James Macko is skeptical.

"After living here this long and this is such an open area if you look no trees, so I don't think so."

Both Findley and Macko agree they're not afraid of an attack. The DNR says black bears are normally afraid of humans.

"We believe this to be a fairly shy bear," says Windau. "No one has seen it yet and there have been no other reports."

However, Findley is a bit worried about her dog Ella.

"She doesn't run around, but I do keep my eye on her because I don't want her to be bear food," says Findley.

The DNR says if you spot a black bear stay calm, do not run, and do not corner it. Experts say black bears normally try to escape. Then back away slowly.

They ask that you later call the DNR office to report the sighting. The phone number is 419-424-5000.

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