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Police alert Gurnee residents of bear sighting

Gurnee police said they got a report of a possible bear sighting Wednesday morning.

Police posted on their Facebook page that they received a call around 8:45 a.m. about a possible bear spotted near Hunt Club Road and Route 132.

Officers were immediately dispatched to the area to confirm the spotting, but police said the bear was nowhere to be found.

Police are warning residents that if they do see a bear, they should not approach the animal and instead contact their dispatch center at 847-599-7000 ex. 0. Police will work with local wildlife authorities to respond to the area and confirm the bear sighting.

Black bears were once common in Illinois but were eliminated from the state in 1870. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says that while there are currently no resident populations of black bears in Illinois, it’s possible that individual bears from populations in Missouri and Wisconsin could travel into and through Illinois.

IDNR said in the past few years there have been five bears confirmed in Illinois, most recently in 2020 in northwest Illinois.

If you see a black bear, IDNR says you should not run or surprise the bear. Instead, make noise to ensure the bear is aware of your presence. IDNR said black bears are not likely to attack humans unless they feel trapped or provoked. You should also respect the bear’s space and not approach it.

For more information on black bears in Illinois and what to do if you see one, visit the IDNR’s resource page.