Black Bear Sighted
A young black bear was observed Wednesday evening and Thursday morning near the small Panhandle town of Henry, west of Scottsbluff along the Wyoming-Nebraska border, according to Gary Schlichtemeier, Wildlife Manager in the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's District Office in Alliance.
"We received several phone calls from the public on Wednesday afternoon," Schlichtemeier said. "And Conservation Officer Scott Brandt of Scottsbluff and Scottsbluff County Sheriff's Department deputies observed the black bear when they arrived on the scene."
"When I arrived the bear was bedded in a shelter belt north of Henry," Brandt said.
The bear appeared to be a young adult.
This is the second black bear observed by Schlichtemeier and Brandt in western Nebraska in the last two years. In the fall of 2000, a black bear was sighted southwest of Henry.
"We suspect both bears originated in Wyoming. Most of the states with black bear populations have reported increased sightings of black bears primarily because of drought conditions in the high country and encroachment of people into traditional bear habitat," Schlichtemeier said.
Black bears are usually nocturnal and their diet consists primarily of berries, nuts, roots, insects, small mammals, eggs, carrion, garbage, and honey.
Schlichtemeier said black bears are protected by law in Nebraska and while usually not aggressive, anyone sighting a black bear should avoid close contact with it and report the sighting to the nearest Game and Parks Commission office.
"We will continue to monitor the bear sighting near Henry and hopefully it will move away from inhabited areas," Schlichtemeier said.