FRANKLIN COUNTY – Officials confirmed Thursday that a bear has been sighted and is roaming in the southwest area of Rend Lake.
Officials from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Rend Lake Army Corps of Engineers, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Franklin County Emergency Management Agency were monitoring the bear Thursday as it moved through the area.
Authorities advised to keep distance the bear’s encountered, pay attention to surroundings and make a special effort to be noticeable if in an area where the bear has been reported.
While Illinois does not have an active breeding bear population, neighboring states like Missouri and Wisconsin do, according to Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). However, it isn’t uncommon to see bears from the neighboring states cross briefly into Illinois before returning to their permanent habitat, especially as they look for food and potential mates.
A bear was spotted this week in Clinton and Monroe Counties in Illinois, according to a representative from the IDNR.
If an individuals spots a bear in their area, conservation officers ask to not feed, approach, shoot or otherwise harm the bear, do not leave dog or cat food outside and do not put trash cans out until the day of pickup.