Family of bears spotted on Eau Claire's south side

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- Some new visitors are catching the attention of people in one part of town.

A black bear and her cubs have been spotted near the Lowes Creek area of Eau Claire.

The Wisconsin DNR says people shouldn't be worried about black bear sightings but there are some steps people can take to prevent the visitors from hanging around the area.

“I had heard stories that there was a bear here but I was kind of shocked to see it,” student Matt Zey said.

A family of black bears isn’t a sight most people would expect to see just yards away from a dorm and a children’s learning center

Matt Zey says he spotted the furry visitors over the weekend on the grounds of the Priory, UW-Eau Claire’s newest dorm that used to be home to St. Bede’s Monastery.

“I took a couple of pictures and showed them around and everyone was shocked. It definitely wasn't what I expected to see when I’m at college,” Zey said.

The DNR says is not uncommon to see bears around this time of year as they get ready to go into hibernation.

“The reality is they are very opportunistic and mainly what they are doing is exploring new areas finding food sources and fattening up for hibernation,” regional conservation warden Richard Rosen said.

Wardens say bears don't usually stick around very long unless there is a food source in the area.

“As long as you clean up the area within a week or less normally the bear will move on to another location,” Rosen said.

“I'm not worried, for the most part I think the bears are scared of the people,” Zey added. “If the mama bear sees people she'll probably run with her kids to somewhere else.”

The DNR says they haven't heard of the bear causing any trouble in the area, and they say the animals could have traveled to a new location by now.

Students we talked to say they wouldn’t mind getting another glimpse at their furry friends.

“I don't know if they'll be back but I wouldn't mind seeing them again because wildlife is just always really cool to see,” Chaz McCann said.

The DNR says there is a toll free number you can call if you have a nuisance bear around your neighborhood. That number is 1-800-228-1368.

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