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That was no dog: Black bear spotted in D'Iberville

DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE, FISHERIES & PARKS 
 State wildlife officials would like to collar all black bears, an endangered species, to track them and learn more about them.
DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE, FISHERIES & PARKS State wildlife officials would like to collar all black bears, an endangered species, to track them and learn more about them.

Spring is in the air and the black bears are roaming.

Facebook users may have noticed a post from the D'Iberville Police Department on Thursday noting a black bear was spotted in the city.

Police Capt. Marty Griffin said the department got a call about a bear sighted near Longwood Plantation off Lamey Bridge Road.

"I think it's the same bear we have every year," he said. "They come out when things start blooming.

"He's just passing through."

Bears, which can live into their 20s, have about a 150-mile area they typically travel. During spring breeding season, they will come out to feed and mate, and will travel that area in search of both.

Lt. Barry Delcambre with the state department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks said the bear sighted Thursday is uncollared. As a result, he can't be sure, but is pretty certain it's the same bear on his familiar route looking for females and grabbing some chow along the way.

"There was one last year seen by D'Iberville High School and a day later, he was on the west side of the county near Diamondhead," Delcambre said.

Wildlife officials would like to get collars on all the bears, but they are $3,500 each and most are breakaway collars, designed to drop off if a bear outgrows it so he isn't endangered by a too-small collar. Black bears are an endangered species in Mississippi, and Wildlife officials are trying to keep track of them.

Delcambre said with bears out roaming and foraging for food, residents are advised to not leave pet food outside and even to hold up on filling bird feeders for a few weeks.

"Bears have a more sensitive nose than canines," he said. "They will smell food and it will attract them. And they'll stay around until the food is gone."

The best advice is to stay away and keep pets inside if possible.

The bears will leave in a few weeks, after mating season is over, Delcambre said.

"I think, personally, that now that he's made his run south, he'll make his way back north. I'm waiting for a call from Fallen Oak (Golf Club). They have persimmon trees up there."

Delcambre said keep the food put up, keep your pets close and if you see a bear, call 1-800-Be-Smart to report the sighting.

Learn more about black bears and get tips on keeping family and pets safe on the state agency's website, mdwfp.com

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