Wildlife Officer Offers City Dwellers Advice on Bears

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - This time of year, it's not uncommon to see bears in Arkansas, even in cities.

Bears have been spotted this spring in Hot Springs and Little Rock, and city police and animal control officers in Fayetteville were looking for a bear cub yesterday that was spotted near a city park.

Rick Eastridge, a bear program coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, says black bears inhabit much of Arkansas.  He said there numbers are most dense in the Ouachita Mountains and they also live in the Ozarks.

In Fayetteville, police received a report last week of a large black bear walking south on School Avenue.  Officers responded to the call but were unable to locate the bear.

This week, residents sighted a bear cub near Gully Park.  Officers searched for the cub Tuesday and yesterday, but had no luck finding it.

Eastridge says residents should never approach a bear and should not run, but back away slowly from the animal.

He also says people should not feed bears.

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