Black Bears are waking up and will soon be wandering around Northeast Ohio

Last year, a bear was hit and killed on I-77 in Akron.
Updated: May. 1, 2019 at 1:57 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -Black bears are waking up from their winter hibernation, and will be soon wandering around Northeast Ohio according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

It’s estimated between 50 to 100 bears will begin traveling, with peak sightings coming in June and July.

“Ohio has a small population of black bears. Most of these bears are young males dispersing, looking for new territories, from nearby states with larger bear populations,” John Windau said, who is a Wildlife Communications Manager with ODNR.

Last year, on June 12, a black bear was hit and killed by a car on Interstate 77 in Akron.

That bear, known as bear No. 727 to ODNR, had been in the state and tracked for months as it made its throughout 19 counties.

This map from ODNR, shows the estimated path of bear No. 727 during the spring and summer of...
This map from ODNR, shows the estimated path of bear No. 727 during the spring and summer of 2018.

While bears are fearful of people, and attacks on pets and humans are extremely rare, ODNR has tips for people who spend time outside and could com into contact with a bear:

  • 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

Bear No. 727 had been active in the weeks before it was hit and killed, looking for food.

ODNR believes the black bear in this picture, taken by Ron Schaefer, was bear No. 727.

This bear had been tracked for weeks by ODNR before it was hit and killed on I-77 in Akron last...
This bear had been tracked for weeks by ODNR before it was hit and killed on I-77 in Akron last summer.(Source: Ron Schaefer)

“A “problem bear” can be defined as an animal that has lost its natural fear of humans and habitually causes property damage while in search of food,” Windau said. "In this instance all potential food attractants must be removed from the area.

This includes:

  • Bird feeders and other wildlife feed-remove feeders, including hummingbird and suet feeders.
  • Trash receptacles-store your garbage either in a garage or a secure container.
  • Pet foods-keep pet foods inside, especially at night.
  • Grease from grills-clean out grease traps after each use; store grill in garage or shed.
  • Secure beehives-place electric fencing around beehives.
  • Crops-pick fruit from berry bushes as soon as possible; scare bears out of agriculture fields as soon as damage occurs.

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