By Denise Dick
There weren’t any reports of lions or tigers, but Mahoning Valley residents reported several bear sightings Saturday.
A wildlife officer from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was notified Saturday morning when a bear was spotted on North Briarcliff Drive, Deer Trail and Glenview Road in Canfield.
Boardman police then got calls about the animal traveling through backyards near Mill Creek Park. It was last seen about 8 p.m. in Forest Lawn Cemetery on Market Street, then near the busy Market Street-Shields Road intersection north of the cemetery.
Trumbull County 911 dispatchers reported sightings of a black bear between noon and 1 p.m. in Champion near the Cranberry Hills Golf Course. One report had the bear running across the fairway.
Jamey Graham, a spokeswoman for ODNR, said that from May through August, young black bears are spotted in Ohio as they make their way from Pennsylvania, looking for their own territory.
This time of year, mother bears send the young males off on their own. They’re attracted to birdseed in feeders and sometimes to trash cans.
“They’re typically not aggressive,” Graham said.
But they can be if cornered. Sometimes people try to follow the bear, wanting their children to see it, as it’s something unusual in an urban area.
Graham urged anyone who sees a black bear not to approach it and to monitor the whereabouts of children and small pets. Generally, a black bear tries to avoid people.
If a bear doesn’t move along on its own, ODNR may try to use rubber bullets or loud noises to scare it away. Rarely, a bear may be tranquilized or captured in a live trap and moved from an urban area to a more rural location. In those cases, the bear is tagged so ODNR officials know if they encounter it again.
Once a bear is relocated, it’s unusual for ODNR to see it again, Graham said.
If left alone, the bears generally route themselves away from people.