DNR confirms vehicle hit black bear in southern Indiana

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NEW ALBANY, Ind. – Officials with the Department of Natural Resources confirmed the presence of a black bear in southern Indiana.

According to DNR, a vehicle hit the bear Sunday night on Interstate 64 around mile marker 121 around 8 p.m. Sunday near New Albany.

Accounts from the driver and at least one other witness led to conservation officers to search the area for the bear. However, dark conditions and rugged terrain limited the scope and effectiveness of the search. Officers resumed their search Monday and said the injured bear wandered into heavy brush after the accident.

“It’s unfortunate and unusual for a bear to be hit on an Indiana roadway, but bear sightings are nothing to be alarmed about,” said Brad Westrich, a DNR mammalogist, “As bear populations expand in neighboring states, it’s only natural that they become more common here.”

In 2015, officials with the Department of Natural Resources reported the first confirmed sighting of a black bear in Indiana in 144 years. The bear had crossed into the Hoosier State from Michigan.

In July 2016, DNR confirmed the presence of a black bear in Harrison, Washington and Clark counties.

DNR has the following information about black bears on its website:

REMEMBER: Black bears are rarely aggressive toward humans. Most problems arise when bears associate food with humans. Do not feed bears; doing so increases the likelihood of negative bear-human interactions. Unfortunately, a fed bear often becomes a dead bear due to increased aggressiveness associated with the loss of fear of humans. Thank you for your help keeping our wildlife wild.

If You See a Black Bear

  • Enjoy it from a distance.
  • Do not climb a tree.
  • Advertise your presence by shouting and waving your arms and backing slowly away.
  • Never attempt to feed or attract bears.
  • Report bear sightings to the Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife at (812) 334-1137, through email at dfw@dnr.IN.gov, or online.
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