Bear sightings in St. Louis area

ST. LOUIS – People across the St. Louis area have reported and documented black bears roaming their neighborhoods.

The Missouri Department of Conservation announced it had received multiple reports of recent bear sightings in the area. Sightings have been reported in Fenton as well as Jefferson, Franklin and Crawford counties.

Over the weekend, conservationists tracked down and calmed a bear in St. Louis County. The bear was spotted in a tree near the intersection of Buck and East Linden Avenues in Richmond Heights. Conservation officials said the bear would be moved to a less populated area and released back into the wild.

A Missouri Department of Conservation spokesman says this 150-pound bear may have been the same one spotted in Fenton, Sunset Hills, Crawford, and Franklin Counties.

On Saturday the Kirkwood Police Department posted photos of a black bear on Facebook and on Sunday two 5 On Your Side viewers reported seeing a black bear in Brentwood.

Rachael Macy in Kirkwood / Oakland hadn’t expected company on Saturday evening.

“I was watching TV quietly and the dog started barking. I never thought I would see a wild bear in front of my house!” She said.

She stayed inside and snapped away.

“I didn’t go outside, didn’t approach him,” she said.

A helpful tip that she picked up as a zookeeper and who worked with bears for 20 years.

The bear didn’t stop there and made its way to the Ursuline Academy.

This was exciting news for Laura Boeker’s children, students at the school.

But soon they would be lucky themselves.

Boeker and her family were driving on Sappington Road near the Ursuline Academy when the bear showed up.

“Sure enough, there is a black bear galloping along the fence,” said Boeker.

As a photographer, Boeker didn’t have her camera … but she knew this moment had to be broken.

Hardly included, they also took photos.

The best part of the sighting this time around was where the bear was found.

“Ursuline’s mascot is the bear!” She said.

Several other St. Louis residents took pictures of bears over the weekend, which can be seen in the gallery and video below.

Increase in bear sightings

MDC research shows that Missouri is home to about 800 black bears and the population is growing by 9% every year.

“Most of our bears are found in the southern part of the state. That’s where we have the largest forested habitats, ”said Tom Meister, wildlife biologist for the MDC St. Louis area, in a press release last week.

Research shows the population is growing in number and range, the Conservation Department reported. As the population grows and grows, bears appear in areas further north. Late spring / early summer is also the best time for bears to get moving.

MDC said the recent surge in local sightings is likely a combination of expanding bear range and the time of year when bears can travel great distances.

Master adds, “Adolescent men are usually kicked out of the family group when mom has a second group of boys and he’s trying to establish territory.”

Other males have established their territories so that some bears will be pushed even further away.

MDC tips to avoid problems if a bear is spotted in the area:

  • Store trash, recyclables, and compost in a secure building or in a bear-safe container or location.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect dumpsters to minimize odors that could attract bears.
  • Keep grills and smokers clean and store them inside.
  • Don’t leave pet food outside. Feed pets one serving at each meal and remove empty containers.
  • Avoid using bird seed in bear sanctuary from April to November. When using them, hang them at least 10 feet high and 4 feet from any structure. Remember that even if a bear cannot get to the bird food, the scent can still lure it into the area.
  • Use electric fences to keep bears away from beehives, chicken coops, vegetable gardens, orchards, and other potential sources of food.

MDC tips for safer outdoors in Bear Sanctuary:

  • Never intentionally offer bear food!
  • Keep the campsites clean and keep all groceries, toiletries, and trash in a safe vehicle or high between two trees.
  • Do not store food or toiletries in a tent, and do not burn or bury rubbish or food waste.
  • When hiking, make noises such as clapping, singing, or speaking loudly to avoid catching a bear by surprise.
  • If possible, travel in a group.
  • Keep dogs on leashes.
  • Pay attention to the surroundings. If there are signs of a bear, such as tracks or droppings, avoid the area.
  • Leave the bears alone! Don’t walk up to them and make sure they have an escape route.

For more information on black bears, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website.

Click here to report a bear sighting.

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