Stock image

Black bear spotted in Burnsville

The suspect was last seen “entering a heavily wooded area” somewhere in the southeast portion of the city.

May 24, 2018 - 11:05 am

Police officers in the city of Burnsville had an unusual morning when a resident called to report spotting a black bear.

The city announced the sighting via Twitter, with photographic evidence. The suspect was last seen “entering a heavily wooded area,” somewhere in the southeast portion of the city.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, there are roughly 12,000-15,000 black bears in Minnesota, mostly concentrated in the northern third of the state, though sometimes they venture “as far south as the interface between the forest and agricultural zones,” as appears to be the case here.

According to DNR wildlife expert Bob Fashinbauer, if you encounter a bear, the best advice is to not run. "You want to give the bear an escape route and then once you're sure that the bear has an escape route, you can make some noise so that he runs away," Fashingbauer said.

The department’s website notes that the black bear population has been expanding southward and westward, and has set up a site for people to report bear sightings to help document the trend.  

The Burnsville Twitter advised residents to call 9-11 if they spot an agitated or aggressive bear, and to let it leave the area naturally. It also noted that the bear did not, "seem to be agitated or aggressive," but asked residents in the area to not keep small pets or children unattended.

Fashinbauer concurred, saying that while he is not concerned about this bear,  it's best to be cautious.

"A lot of times what happens is the dog will go out there and bark and trap the bear, and that small pet could be in danger," he said.