Several black bear sightings reported in Summit County; bear spotted near Springfield High School

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Police in Summit County said there have been several black bear sightings Monday.

According to Springfield Township police, the bear was reported several times in the area of Canton Road.

The first report was called in at around 4 a.m. Officers then located the bear around 7 a.m. near Springfield High School.

Since the 7 a.m. report, the bear has not been seen.

There's no word yet if this is the same black bear spotted in Doylestown, Stow, Bath Township, Willoughby and Willowick.

Here are some tips about bear-proofing your backyard from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:

"Black bears are large animals and can cause significant damage while in search of an easy meal. If your yard is being visited by a black bear there are several things that must be done to ensure that the animal doesn't become a "problem bear". A "problem bear" can be defined as an animal that has lost its natural fear of humans and habitually causes property damage while in search of food. In this instance all potential food attractants must be removed from the area. This includes:

· Bird feeders and other wildlife feed-remove feeders, including hummingbird and suet feeders.
· Trash receptacles-store your garbage either in a garage or a secure container.
· Pet foods-keep pet foods inside, especially at night.
· Grease from grills-clean out grease traps after each use; store grill in garage or shed.
· Secure beehives-place electric fencing around beehives.
· Crops-pick fruit from berry bushes as soon as possible; scare bears out of agriculture fields as soon as damage occurs; contact your County Wildlife Officer.

What To Do If You Encounter a Bear

Black bears are usually fearful of people, therefore bear attacks are a rare occurrence.  Bears do not attack or kill children or pets as long as the bear is given its space and not cornered.  The first thing to do when you see a bear is REMAIN CALM. Generally, black bears are non-aggressive and prefer to flee from the area as soon as they are aware of your presence. If you encounter a bear, and it is not aware of your presence, simply back away from the area slowly. If the bear is aware of your presence and it does not leave the area, avoid direct eye contact with the animal, give the bear an easy escape route and again, simply back slowly away from the area. Always avoid running or climbing trees, which may provoke a chase. An easy way to remember this is to be AWARE:

· Act calm and do not run.
· Warn the bear that you are near; talk in a firm, calm voice.
· Allow space between you and the bear. Step aside and back slowly away. Do not make the bear feel trapped or threatened.
· Raise your hands above your head to appear larger if the bear approaches. Clap your hands or shout to scare the bear away.
· Exit the area.

For more information, visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division by clicking here: http://on.wews.com/126Dq6a

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