GENOA, Ill. (CBS) — The far west suburban town of Genoa was abuzz Wednesday morning, with reports of a black bear sighting.
WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports a DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputy spotted the bear around 9:15 a.m. near the intersection of Route 72 and Route 23.
“In a wooded area, it had come out, it was around a barn. It is not aggressive. It actually seemed to be shy of people, and it is back in a wooded area. Apparently, this bear has wandered from Winnebago [County] to Boone [County] and now in DeKalb County,” Sheriff Roger Scott said. “Hopefully, he ends up back where he belongs; maybe in Wisconsin.”
Steve Kleba lives in Genoa and works in Elkgrove Village. Wednesday morning he saw something cross the road 150 yards ahead of him near routes 72 and 23 just outside this small town.
“I knew it wasn’t a deer a coyote or whatever and I thought is that a bear? I had to turn around and come back and wait from to come out when I parked the side of the road and he came out sure enough it was a bear.”
He took pictures of the bear and called the authorities.
Authorities believe it’s the same black bear a Rockford area woman spotted on Saturday. Sheryl Hutchinson saw the bear eating berries from a bush in her back yard. The bear also drained her hummingbird feeder, and drank out of a water lily pot.
“I said to my husband there’s a bear outside the window and he thought I was teasing,” said Sheryl Hutchinson.
It’s unclear if it’s the same bear, but state officials said spotting black bears in Illinois is rare.
Scott suggested residents in Winnebago County keep their pets inside, and any food away from the back porch.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris Young said people should stay away from the bear, and not feed it.
“We just want people to observe from a distance if they see it. Don’t approach the bear, and make sure in your own back yard, you take steps to remove any pet food that might be on your back porch,” Young said.
He said the worst thing for the bear would be to let it become accustomed to dependence on humans for food, which would bring it into regular contact, and possible problems with people.