Little did we know the day immediately after releasing our Summer Newsletter, where we referenced our concern about open trash dumpsters in a state with bears, that we would have a bear sighting close-by in Warren County. As many of you may have heard, last week a black bear was reported off of Highway F in Wright City just north of Innsbrook. Read more in this Warren County Record newspaper story or local TV report and video .
This is not the first report of bears seen in Warren County in recent years. One was spotted near Marthasville in southern Warren County in 2016. We promptly gave him the name of Wandering Warren. You can view an interactive map of bear sightings within in Missouri at this MDC Bear Map.
Black Bears are native to Missouri but were hunted to near-extinction in the state during the late 1800’s. As a protected species they are now making a resurgence in Missouri with an estimated 300-400 in the state, mostly in the Ozarks near the Arkansas border. Bears have a role in a healthy ecosystem and most conservationists agree it is a good thing to have them. As example, they do eat small rodents which can spread tick diseases.
Having bears sharing Nature with humans is little to fear if you are prepared to be bear aware. Bears exist in the wild in many states though out the U.S. where humans have learned to safely live with them. Bear attacks are rare, but can happen, especially if they are threatened or humans are careless with food and trash. However, living with bears does require education, preparation, and some community changes to avoid incidents that can threaten property or lives.
To help our community prepare I will be attending an MDC program on “Bear Necessities for Being Bear Aware” at the Busch Conservation Center in St. Charles County next Tuesday. We have also asked the MDC to provide us with a speaker, or reference materials if they cannot attend, for our Innsbrook Nature meeting on Saturday morning, July 28 that all property owners are welcomed to attend. DYK what bear tracks or scat looks like? We’ll show you.
Until then you can learn to be prepared by visiting this must-read material at MDC Bear Aware and at MDC Hiking in Bear Country. In these references you will learn that if you encounter a bear while hiking, the most important thing to remember is don’t turn your back and don’t run. Here are more tips directly from the MDC:
- Never corner a bear – make sure it has an escape route.
- Back away slowly with your arms raised.
- Speak in a calm, loud voice.
- Do not turn your back to the bear.
- Walk away slowly – DO NOT RUN.
Another good tip is don’t leave any trash or food outside on your property including spilt bird seed or pet feeding dishes.
I imagine that all the fireworks this holiday week will scare off any bear as well as other critters, but it could also make our wildlife neighbors more stressed, unpredictable, and thus dangerous. Should you spot a bear within Innsbrook it is recommended that you call the St. Louis regional office of the MDC at 636-441-4554 and/or Innsbrook Security at 636-745-3000 x9400, then send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow the Innsbrook Nature Group by visiting our website at www.ibknature.com and registering to receive our newsletter in the field at the top right of any page.
Rich & Kath