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Big Black Bear Lost in Ole Miss!

Posted Oct 30 2008 3:24pm

I don't normally post this kind of stuff, but it was too good to resist.

Lost bear visiting in woods at Horn Lake
Southern Louisiana refugee has made stops in Natchez, Senatobia

By William C. Bayne (Contact), Memphis Commercial Appeal
Friday, June 27, 2008

A wayward American black bear wandered into Horn Lake on Wednesday night and was still checking out the local scenery Thursday afternoon.

"We know he's big -- maybe 7 feet tall weighing from 450 to 800 pounds -- but he hasn't bothered anybody and he's apparently trying to avoid human contact," said Capt. Shannon Beshears of the Horn Lake Police Department.

Spencer "Penny" Shields, public works director, said the first local sighting of the bear was reported Wednesday evening, "but that was sorta tossed off as possibly having been in error."

However, he said several sightings were reported Thursday morning, including one that had the bear going into a heavily wooded area north of Nail Road, between Hurt Road and U.S. 51.

Beshears said the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has been tracking the bear for more than a week.

"He was first spotted south of Natchez, near the Mississippi River, but he has also been reported as being seen in Cleveland and in Senatobia," he said.

While officers from Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks have been monitoring the movements of the bear -- Beshears said no one has gotten close enough to tell whether's it's a male or female -- there has been no attempt to catch the huge animal.

Brad Young, a biologist with the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, said he believes the bear began its trek northward from a refuge in southern Louisiana.

As it has moved, it has fed on blackberries, insects and grubs, mainly. Young said black bears don't normally kill animals for food.

"This is not what you'd call an active predator," he said. "It's much more like a huge raccoon."

So why Horn Lake?

"Basically, what we have is a bear that has lost its way," Young said. "We don't know for sure which bear it is, but I believe it's a female that is basically lost."

He said authorities have kept a hands-off demeanor with the bear "because this is a free country for bears as well as people. As long as she's roaming, let her roam."

He said if any homeowner spots the bear, he or she should call local law enforcement officers or the state wildlife specialists.

"This is a wild animal and she's extremely fast and powerful," he said. "She's more than a match for any person or any animal, but she probably will avoid contact if possible. She's only a threat if she thinks she's being attacked or penned up.

"We don't want to put people or the bear in that situation," he said.

Bear sightings should be telephoned to Horn Lake police at (662) 393-6174; Southaven police at (662) 393-8652, or the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department at (662) 429-1475.
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