Bear returns to Waunakee neighborhood, residents jittery - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Bear returns to Waunakee neighborhood, residents jittery

By Tony Galli - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

WAUNAKEE (WKOW) -- A black bear returned to backyards in a Waunakee neighborhood Sunday, making the curiosity of seeing the impressive wild animal less curious and slightly more ominous.

Both Saturday and Sunday evenings, homeowner Paul Schreiber captured the bear's frolic and food foraging on video, including the bear mounting a backyard slide.

Schreiber and other neighbors in the Savannah Village development said any return by the bear should lead to attempts to remove it from the area.

Department of Natural Resources regional wildlife supervisor Eric Lobner said bears are typically left alone to move through populated areas.

But Lobner said another black bear which has crossed the interstate in the Wisconsin Dells several times and been spotted near attractions and resorts recently will be trapped and removed.

Lobner said pressures on the bear population to the north and the mating season are factors in the presence of black bears in southern Wisconsin.   And Lobner said black bears are established here, primarily in Sauk and Richland Counties.

In Waunakee, Ann Kruger watched as her husband got withing fifty feet of the roughly two hundred pound bear to snap photos.

Kruger said they moved to Waunakee from rural Virginia last year, where bear sightings were more expected.

"Even though we have a conservation area behind us, I just had no expectation that we would ever see a black bear this close to such a suburban community."

Some of Schrieber's video shows children getting their own photos of the bear from closer than fifty feet.   Lobner said even though bears are generally passive, they can be unpredictable and observers should keep a safe distance.

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Viewers reported seeing a bear wandering around a neighborhood in Waunakee on Saturday afternoon.

Kimberly Arneson said the bear was just hanging out and wasn't afraid of people. She says folks were standing around the bear came as close as 15 feet to the people.

Picture courtesy of Arneson of KJAY Photos.

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