(STMW) — A black bear spotted wandering around DeKalb County this week has now moved into Ogle County, officials said Friday.
The bear was last seen in the Rochelle area about mid-afternoon, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s office said.
The bear is likely a young male who was forced to leave his home to the birth of new cubs, according to Peggy Doty, wildlife management representative with the University of Illinois who works out of the Russels Forest Preserve near Genoa.
The bear is about 150 pounds and appears to be “seeking to avoid people,” the sheriff’s office said on Wednesday, when three sightings of the bear were reported in DeKalb County.
Three more people reported seeing the bear late Thursday and early Friday near Sycamore and in western DeKalb County, sheriff’s police said.
Residents have reported the bear to be about 6 feet tall.
The bear “has not been aggressive and has not hurt anybody,” Cmdr. Hank Frazier of the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources said, “but it is a wild animal and we are telling people not to approach it.”
It was first spotted on Memorial Day weekend near Freeport, west of Rockford, Frazier said, and officials suspect it came south from Wisconsin.
“By removing easy sources of food for the bear, we can encourage it to stop searching for food near homes,” DNR spokesman Chris Young said previously.
“While these animals once roamed the Illinois landscape 150 years ago, seeing one today can be, at the very least, a startling sight,” Young said. “Help us keep this bear from being accustomed to people. Always observe wildlife from a distance.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)