BEAR WATCH: Wandering bear appears to be headed east - KMSP-TV

BEAR WATCH: Wandering bear appears to be headed east

Posted: Updated:
Eagan, Minn. Eagan, Minn.
EAGAN, Minn. (KMSP) -

The elusive, wounded wandering black bear was spotted again in Eagan, Minn. on Tuesday night after showing up in the city that morning, and appears to be continuing its eastbound journey.


Eagan police said the bear was caught on camera at the intersection of Slater Road and Tiffany Court near Super America early Tuesday morning. Officers also spotted the bear coming from a business park next to Lifetime Fitness around 8:30 p.m. in the 1600-block of Hickory Lane. The bear was spotted again near a knocked over bird feeder in the 1500-block of Mallard View, then officers saw it crossing Thomas Lake Road, walking east along the Highline Trail, crossing Pilot Knob, and was last seen east on Wilderness Run Road, west of Ches Mar Road. The bear appears to be continuing its eastbound journey.

Police said there is no threat to residents, but if you see the bear, don’t approach it. Instead, head indoors and call 911.

Minnesota Department of Natural resources officials believe it's the same bear that’s made its way through Savage and Burnsville, initially spotted on May 23. The bear is believed to be about 18 months old and could weigh up to 200 pounds.


The Minnesota DNR offered the following advice:

If you see a bear, call 911 and leave it alone. Standing around gawking is risky and may cause the bear to head up a tree. If it is in a tree, remove people and pets from the area. While bear attacks on humans in Minnesota are rare, they're still wild animals and capable of inflicting serious harm.

Bear sightings in Twin Cities suburbs actually aren't that uncommon, especially in the spring. Most bears are young males searching for their own territory after hibernation and being chased off by their parents. They typically move to an area with few people, but sometimes wind up in a heavily populated area.


DNR Capt. Greg Salo said shooting a bear with a tranquilizer dart, then transporting it elsewhere is mostly Hollywood fiction, and sometimes shooting a bear is "the only real option."

Here's why:

-Chemical immobilization requires special equipment, training and access to controlled substances. Most DNR staff don’t have that.

-The effect of the tranquilizer is not immediate, so a darted bear could run into a crowd or a busy street before passing out.

-Finding a suitable place for relocation can be a challenge. Once a bear is habituated to human derived food, it is likely to repeat this feeding behavior if released elsewhere.

-Sometimes bears don’t recover from the tranquilizing

“A public safety threat is a public safety threat, whether it’s a guy wielding a knife or a startled or frightened large mammal with big teeth and sharp claws in a neighborhood with lots of kids,” said Capt. Greg Salo. “Your first call should be to the local police department. No one likes to see these animals killed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but sometimes that’s the only real option.”

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