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Black bear sightings reported in Ottawa County

By Melissa Frick/The Holland Sentinel
 • Jun 27, 2018 at 2:00 PM

PARK TWP. — Police responded to a report of a black bear sighting in Ottawa County’s Park Township on Tuesday morning.

The bear was seen in the area of Lakeshore Drive and Lakewood Boulevard at around 8 a.m.

There have been a few recent reports of black bear sightings in Park Township, said Sgt. Brent Converse of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. Although the sightings might seem unusual to residents, he said the bears should be treated like any other wild animal and simply left alone.

The Sheriff’s Office will monitor the bear’s movement, but won’t get involved unless there are reports of violent behavior.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is aware of the reports and is monitoring the situation.

DNR wildlife biologist Nik Kalejs said it’s hard to say, but he suspects the reported sightings are all the same bear. Black bear sightings are rare this far south, he said.

While black bears are not particularly aggressive, they must be treated with the appropriate respect because they’re so large, Kalejs said. He suggested making a lot of noise when outside so as not to surprise the bear in close proximity.

He also said they should never be deliberately fed by residents.

“Try to limit any possible food sources that could attract them,” Kalejs said. “For example, bird feeders should be removed for a few weeks. It won’t harm the birds, and leaving them out may stop bears to eat them.”

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