Black Bear Sighting at Local Community College

KIRTLAND, Ohio – Students and faculty at a local college are being urged to be careful after a black bear sighting on campus.

An email distributed by police at Lakeland Community College say they’ve received multiple reports of a small black bear on campus.

Officer Steve Gagliardi tells Fox 8 News that the reports followed a similar sighting in a neighborhood near the college.

Email recipients were advised that “bears in parks, woods or even on a college campus are wild and their behavior is sometimes unpredictable.”

Students and faculty were being told if they see a bear not to approach it, but to run away making as much noise as they can.

The same bear was seen along Route 306 a short time later.

Linda Babb of Mentor says she saw the animal on the edge of the woods, sitting near the road and could hardly believe what she was seeing.

“I was just driving minding my own business and I looked over and there was this, it looked huge, I don’t know how big it was but I know it wasn’t a baby bear, because I had just seen cubs about a year ago in Tennessee,” said Babb.

She tells Fox 8 News that she made a U-turn hoping to be able to get a picture of the bear, but by then it had disappeared back into the woods.

The sighting is one of the more recent in a string of similar reports as young bears have been making their way through Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Monday said there were active sightings in a dozen counties.

Jamie Graham of ODNR says the bears have not been aggressive toward humans, rather they are targeting bird feeders and garbage cans and moving on.

Kirtland Police on Monday said they were not responding to Bear calls unless there was a report of any danger to people.

Lakeland Community College Police are advising in their e-mail “If you see a bear remain watchful. Do not approach it. If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding, changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.)–you’re too close. Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you.”

On campus many students Monday were not yet aware of the sighting. They admit if they had seen a black bear themselves they would be curious, but not anxious for a close encounter.

“Oh yeah I’m going to run, no doubt about it,” said Quinn Porter

Jonathan Redwood offered his own advice saying “Stay away from it. Why antagonize a creature?”