The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking local Hoosiers to do their part after a black bear was recently spotted in Pike County.
According to the DNR, the black bear most recently seen in Pike County had been getting into peoples' garbage and is likely still roaming southern Indiana.
A few residents in the area told 44News the bear was last spotted just around the corner at their neighbors home, in their garbage can.
But some residents, like Jason Yates, have not seen it yet and are unsure what to do if they do spot it.
"I think the fact that I haven't seen it yet puts me a little more at ease, I don't know what I would do if I saw it, that part would kind of scare me." said Yates.
Which is why the DNR has put out information on what to do when you do spot it. One way to prevent it from coming to your door is to put away any garbage.
When bears discover food around people’s homes, the DNR says they can damage personal property trying to get at it while also losing their natural fear of humans, which can put both humans and the bear in danger.
“Seeking out easily accessible food is normal behavior for many wild animals,” said Westrich. “Unfortunately, bears can become sick or even die when they eat items from our garbage.”
Although the DNR says the black bear was last seen in Pike County on July 8, bears can travel up to 20 miles a day.
For that reason, residents in Pike County and its surrounding counties should:
- Store garbage cans and recycling containers inside a garage or shed.
- Put garbage cans and recycling containers on the curb the morning of pick-up rather than on the night before.
- Avoid putting meats, sweets, bones, or grease in compost piles.
- Remove or secure other potential food sources for bears, such as livestock feed or pet food.
The DNR says other potential food sources such as beehives, grills, and vegetable gardens can also attract bears. You can find more tips for securing those sources on the DNR website.