Black Bear Sightings On The Rise In Marathon County

By: Julia Fello Email
By: Julia Fello Email

It's not often you see a black bear in town. Many people caught a glimpse of one in Marathon Park near the grand stands this weekend. Many people couldn't believe their eyes, but that didn't stop them from taking a closer look, some even taking pictures.

We spoke with the Department of Natural Resources about why black bears are traveling into urban areas. "If a bear is in town and people are around it and push it up a tree, there generally is no real threat to humans. The best thing to do though is to get everybody out of the area, kind of corner it off and let everything quiet down, especially in the evening and let the bear get out of town," says Thomas Meier, the Wildlife Manager at the Mead Wildlife Center.

He says the black bear found in Marathon Park was probably about a year and a half old, and 150 pounds.

There has been an increase in bear sightings because of the dry seasons over the past few years, causing them to come into town for food. The DNR says about 13,000 black bears live in the state of Wisconsin, and they plan to research the populations more because they think the number could be higher. The population spike has caused the bear to expand their range further south, where they have found food in agricultural areas.

The wildlife manager says they will increase the amount of hunter's permits this year, to over 5,000. They expect hunters to harvest about 3,000 this year, to keep the population steady.

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