Wild black bear roams Rockford, expert says more might come

Wild black bear roams Rockford, expert says more might come

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Sheryl Hutchinson couldn't believe her eyes when she saw a black bear strolling around her Rockford house, and drinking out of flower pots.

She took pictures as proof, and it's confirmed that at least one wild black bear is prowling 90 miles from Chicago. FOX 32 spoke to a black bear expert Monday at the Lincoln Park Zoo. He told us he expects bear sightings to become more common near Chicago.

"It’s rare, but I think it's going to happen increasingly. We are seeing more and more animals that we don't think of as urban making their way into nearby metropolitan areas,” said Seth Magle.

Magle is the director of the urban wildlife institute at Lincoln Park Zoo. He said as Chicago continues to expand its green space, an encounter with a black bear may not be so uncommon. However, don't lose too much sleep over it.

"The good news about these guys about the black bears is they are shy and timid and not real aggressive. Odds are, if you open your door and make some noise, or maybe a car comes by, the bear will scamper away," added Magle.

Black bears are not the most aggressive, but Magle said make sure to use some common sense when they are nearby.

"The problem is when people feed these bears. They create garbage that these bears can get at frequently. Once they start to associate humans and food, that's where the problem comes in," Magle said.

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