RANDOLPH COUNTY, Ill. — There's been a 'bear'-y interesting sight in southern Illinois.
The Randolph County Sheriff's Office alerted residents of a bear sighting near Evansville, Illinois, over the weekend.
Officers were advised around 8:30 p.m. June 3 about a possible bear sighting two miles south of Evansville. The sighting was then confirmed by the officers after an investigation into the call.
The sheriff's office contacted the Illinois Department of Natural Resources regarding the sighting. They said they are aware and have contacted their wildlife biologist.
"We are encouraging the public not to approach the bear if they come in contact with it. Keep your distance and allow it to move on," the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources shared the following tips if you do see a black bear:
- Do not run
- Do not play dead
- Do not approach them
- Stand your ground
- If possible, go inside a building or get into a car
- If you have food, drop it and continue moving away
Once common in Illinois, black bears do not have a resident population in the state. But, individual black bears may travel to the state from populations in Missouri and Wisconsin. A total of five bears have been spotted in the past few years, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Find more information on black bears and what to do if you spot one here.
Report a sighting of a bear on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website here.