Useless black bear discovered Elkhart County Bristol Indiana DNR Michigan wild
BRISTOL – A dead black bear was found along Indiana 15, north of Indiana Toll Road, on Wednesday, apparently in a car accident, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
It was the first bear sighting in northern Indiana since 2015, when a Michigan black bear roamed Berrien, St. Joseph and LaPorte and counties – the first wild bear sighting in Indiana in 144 years.
Michigan DNR officials killed this bear near Stevensville in the spring of 2016, saying it had become a threat to humans.
Indiana DNR mammalologist Brad Westrich said a motorist spotted the youngest bear north of Bristol on Wednesday morning. It was unclear how long the animal was dead, he said on Friday.
The body is now in the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University to determine the exact cause of death. Large bones were broken on his body, which is typical of a vehicle collision, he said.
“It is well documented that wild animals are frequently killed on the roads, and it is a shame that Indiana’s fifth black bear in modern history met this fate,” Westrich said.
He said this was “definitely” not the black bear seen in southern Indiana earlier this summer. Reports of this bear were recently discontinued, and Westrich said it was possible he may have moved to Kentucky since then based on reports in that state.
Bears were once native to Indiana. DNR reports that their numbers are growing in neighboring states. The forests and hills in southern Indiana, according to the agency, are “excellent habitat for black bears”.
To report a bear sighting, visit on.IN.gov/largemammal. To learn more about black bears, including those who have visited Indiana, visit wildlife.IN.gov/wildlife-resources/animals/black-bear.