Black bear and two cubs spotted in northeast Iowa

This photo from the University of Illinois Extension website shows an example of a black bear

This photo from the University of Illinois Extension website shows an example of a black bear

Tracks and scat found near beehives in Clayton County, Iowa have been confirmed to be from a black bear.

A beekeeper south of Wadena, near the Clayton-Fayette county line, told the Department of Natural Resources his beehives had been damaged. A nearby neighbor also reported spotting a female bear and two cubs, as well as seeing tracks, on his land.

DNR investigators said they found bear scat within 25 feet of the beehives.

“If there are cubs, they would be the first cubs documented in Iowa in more than 140 years,” said a statement from the Iowa DNR. “Although once native to Iowa, black bears have not had wild populations in the state since the 1800s.”

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“Wild bears generally avoid people, keeping to themselves and moving along,” said Vince Evelsizer, DNR furbearer and wetland biologist. “That said, we do want people to know there is one around, and we encourage them to give the bear its space – don’t harass or follow the bear, especially if we do have a female bear with cubs.”

If you encounter a bear, the DNR says you should remain calm, stand still and do not run. Don’t try to get closer to the bear, and if it does not get closer to you, slowly back away while talking in a quiet monotone voice. Do not scream and do not make direct eye contact.

The DNR was working to confirm the size and number of bears.

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