Bear Spotted Near Town
Wed, 07/14/2021 - 11:52am admin
Amanda Mendez, Publisher
Willow Springs earned its “Bear City” moniker on the early morning of July 8 when a lone black bear appeared in the yard of a home on Highway Z. The Simandl residence is outside of city limits, but is only three miles down Highway Z. Andrea Simandl took several photos of the bear in her yard and posted them on Facebook. She has been on the lookout for a bear after a sighting close by.
“My friend left my drive a few weeks ago headed back to town, and she saw a [mother bear] and two cubs run across the road about 30 seconds past our drive. So I've been on the lookout, and lucked out this morning,” Simandl told Howell County News.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, black bears live in heavily wooded areas. Sightings have been recorded in southwest Missouri and bear population numbers have risen following conservation and reintroduction efforts in Arkansas.
In 2019, the MDC’s Missouri Black Bear Project estimated that Missouri is home to 540-840 black bears. This population is estimated to grow by 9% annually. Since the initiation of the Missouri Black Bear Research Project in 2010 through June, 30 2019, the MDC marked over 200 black bears and has deployed collars on over 100 bears. The bear Simandl photographed had a tag in its ear.
Most of the black bears that cause nuisance problems in Missouri are yearling males that have been driven away by their mother, or threatened or attacked by older males. In their search for food, these young males can come into contact with humans and cause problems. Because a bear can become a danger when it learns to associate humans with food, it is important to keep them wild, says literature published by the MDC.
When encountering a bear, Project Be Bear Aware recommends giving the animal space, even using binoculars or telephoto lenses to view and photograph them and to avoid sneaking up on or surprising any wild animal, especially a bear.