Iowa DNR: Black bears could make Iowa their home in the near future

Iowa News

IOWA (WHO-TV) — Springtime has arrived in the Midwest and with it comes mating season and some surprise visitors to Iowa that shouldn’t be so surprising anymore.

In recent years sightings of black bears in northeast Iowa are becoming more common. That isn’t a coincidence.

The DNR says that as black bear populations in Minnesota and Wisconsin continue to grow, so will the area that the animals call home.

Over the next few weeks, officials said the black bears will be headed south, just ahead of breeding season. Some have made the trek each spring since 2014.

Much of Iowa doesn’t have the habitat to support bears, but some places in the northeast and southern parts of the state do. Vince Evelsizer with the Iowa DNR says it’s possible some could set up a new home.

“Within the next three to five years, I think we can expect to see cubs show up and a small breeding population become established,” Evelsizer said.

And while they may be a sight to behold, Evelsizer asks people to keep their distance.

“Enjoy seeing them if you do see them. We haven’t had them around for over a hundred years, so enjoy it but do keep your distance out of respect for that animal and for your own safety,” he said.

The DNR says that means staying at least 100 yards away.

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