ASHTABULA COUNTY, Ohio-- A mother black bear and her cubs were captured on video in Ashtabula County.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said a woman, Colleen Porfillio, and her daughter, Jenna, saw the animals safely cross the road as they were driving.
ODNR said the video is historic; it's the first clear photographic evidence taken in Ohio of a black bear with her cubs.
“This is the confirmation we needed to help ensure our suspicions were on-point,” said Scott Peters, wildlife management supervisor for northeast Ohio. “Black bear sightings in northeast Ohio counties are not all that uncommon anymore, especially sightings of young males looking to establish territories during warmer months.”
The ODNR said wildlife biologists have logged some reported sightings of females with cubs before, but support data such as high-quality pictures or video of a sow with cubs clearly in Ohio had been lacking, until now. “Whether or not the sow gave birth to the cubs here in Ohio we’ll never know since the sighting was only a few miles from the Pennsylvania border. Nevertheless, it’s exciting to know they’re spending time in the Buckeye State,” said Peters.
The cubs will stay with their mother just over one year and then they will find their own territories.
The ODNR said a black bear presents no danger to humans when it is given the proper space. They are usually fearful of people. They give the following tips if you come across the animal:
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 simply back slowly away from the area. Always avoid running or climbing trees, which may provoke a chase.
If you spot a black bear in Northeast Ohio, you're asked to call Wildlife District Three at (330) 644-2293 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to report a sighting.