A bear wandering in the State of Illinois is extremely rare, but that all changed for some people in the state last week in the Land of Lincoln. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking people not to bother a black bear that has traveled from Wisconsin to Illinois to Iowa, and has made its way back to West-Central Illinois.
According to WREX Television in Rockford, Illinois, DNR biologists have been and continue to closely monitor the bear since it crossed into Illinois from Wisconsin on June 10. The bear then crossed into Iowa and came back into Illinois in southern Rock Island County on June 18.

Since then, then bear has traveled through northwestern Illinois mostly unbothered until it passed through northwest Henderson County on Father’s Day weekend.  It was there that some 300 plus people gathered to view the bear. It was last seen June 21 headed south toward Stronghurst in southern Henderson County.

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Officials think the bear is likely just passing through the state looking for a mate and won’t stay long because Illinois doesn’t provide appropriate habitat for an animal that big. The most important thing to remember if people spot the bear is that it is a wild animal and should be treated as such. If spotted, people should stay at least 100 yards away from the bear and enjoy watching it from a distance.

If you do spot the bear, you are encouraged to contact your local law enforcement agency. For additional information and safety tips, visit https://bebearaware.org.