BEWARE: Black bear, 2 cubs spotted in Ashtabula County (video)

BEWARE: Black bear, 2 cubs spotted in Ashtabula County (video)
Black bears spotted in Ashtabula County. (Source: ODNR)
Black bears spotted in Ashtabula County. (Source: ODNR)

ASHTABULA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - The first clear photographic evidence of a mother black bear (called a sow) with cubs in Ohio has been recorded in Ashtabula County, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The historic footage of a female bear safely crossing a roadway with at least two cubs was captured by Colleen Porfillio and her daughter Jenna as they were driving.

"This is the confirmation we needed to help ensure our suspicions were on-point," said Scott Peters, wildlife management supervisor for northeast Ohio. "Black bear sightings in northeast Ohio counties are not all that uncommon anymore, especially sightings of young males looking to establish territories during warmer months."

Wildlife biologists have logged some reported sightings of females with cubs previously, but support data such as high-quality pictures or video of a sow with cubs clearly in Ohio has been lacking until now. The cubs will stay with the sow just over one year and then they will disperse to find their own territories.

Individuals who spot a black bear in northeast Ohio are encouraged to contact Wildlife District Three at (330) 644-2293. Try to remember as much detail as possible including location, date, time, and bear activity.

A black bear presents no danger to humans when it is given the proper space. Black bears are usually fearful of people, therefore bear attacks are a rare occurrence. Bears do not attack or kill children or pets as long as the bear is given its space and is not cornered. The first thing to do when you see a bear is to remain calm. Generally, black bears are non-aggressive and prefer to flee from the area as soon as they are aware human presence. If you encounter a bear and it is not aware of your presence, simply back away from the area slowly. If the bear is aware of your presence and it does not leave the area, avoid direct eye contact with the animal, give the bear an easy escape route, and simply back slowly away from the area. Always avoid running or climbing trees, which may provoke a chase. An easy way to remember this is to be AWARE:

  • Act calm and do not run.
  • Warn the bear that you are near; talk in a firm, calm voice.
  • Allow space between you and the bear. Step aside and back slowly away. Do not make the bear feel trapped or threatened.
  • Raise your hands above your head to appear larger if the bear approaches. Clap your hands or shout to scare the bear away.
  • Exit the area.

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