First black bear confirmed in Indiana in more than a century

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State wildlife biologists say they’ve confirmed the presence of a wild black bear in Indiana for the first time in more than 140 years.

The Department of Natural Resources says wildlife biologist Budd Veverka examined a dropping submitted to the DNR after the bear was spotted earlier this week in northern Indiana’s St. Joseph County. Veverka identified that dropping was bear scat.

The DNR says the black bear walked into St. Joseph County from adjoining Michigan, which has an estimated black bear population of 15,000 to 19,000 bears.

Black bears have also recolonized eastern portions of Kentucky and Ohio.

DNR Wildlife Section chief Mitch Marcus says “we were expecting a bear to show up eventually” in Indiana.

Indiana’s last confirmed wild black bear sighting was in 1871 in northwest Indiana.

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