Black bear sighting on Wausau’s west side causes excitement and caution

Bear sighting in Wausau on June 2
Bear sighting in Wausau on June 2(Leng Chang)
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 3:40 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Wausau residents living on the city’s west side saw an unusual sight Thursday morning.

A black bear moseyed its way through several yards near S. 17th Avenue and W Thomas Street. Members in Facebook groups like “You know you’re from Wausau...” were eager to catch a glimpse of the animal. While bears within the city limits aren’t totally uncommon, sightings are infrequent.

Thursday morning, elementary students at G.D. Jones, located on 12th Avenue, were brought inside as a precaution.

Earlier in the day, a person also took photos of a bear on Hummingbird Road between Wausau and Rib Mountain. It’s unclear if it was the same animal.

The most recent data from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources indicates the bear population is currently estimated to be a little over 24,000 bears.

According to the DNR, there are numerous steps that anyone can make to prevent or stop nuisance bear issues.

  • Remove attractants from the area. Food that would be attractive to bears such as pet food, home waste or bird feeders needs to be secured properly or taken down for a period of time. Some are surprised to find that barbeque grills may also attract bears and should be stored in a secure location.
  • If you see a bear, it is important to harass it. This can be as simple as yelling at the bear, banging pots or pans or honking an air horn to discourage further unwanted visits. By keeping bears wild it helps ensure that more dangerous situations are less likely.
  • Finally, if none of the above steps have proven effective or if bears are demonstrating abnormally bold behavior, contact USDA-Wildlife Services to conduct an investigation. Phone lines are monitored seven days a week so it is important to leave a message if no one answers the phone.

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