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Young bear spotted in Willoughby backyard, captured on camera

Willoughby Black Bear sighting
Posted at 10:22 PM, Jun 27, 2021

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — A bear is making its way around Lake County, and there are plenty of photos to prove it.

There have been calls into police departments from Willoughby, Concord, Painesville Township and Perry throughout the weekend regarding a black bear sighting.

Authorities said the most recent sighting was in Willoughby on Sunday.

Residents captured images and video of a young bear wandering around the area and even helping itself to a snack from a bird feeder in a backyard.

“Bears are travelers, and they will travel several miles in a day,” said Matt Naegele, Willoughby Hills Police Chief.

Naegele said black bears are omnivores and opportunistic eaters looking for the next thing to eat.

Willoughby Black Bear sighting

On Sunday afternoon, John Thorn was cooking hamburgers on his grill outside on the deck when he walked down a few steps to toss a stick in the woods.

“About 15 feet, there was a black object on the ground. I thought 'I wonder whose dogs is running loose.' All of a sudden I looked up and said 'Uh-oh, it’s a bear,'” John said.

Bear sighting

John was afraid the bear was after the burgers so he shut the grill off and ran inside to tell his wife, Carol, who could barely believe it.

“He comes into the house and all of a sudden goes 'There’s a bear out there.' I said, 'A bear?'” Carol recalled.

The couple went outside and saw the bear was eating from their neighbor's bird feeder. After being startled the bear ran off.

Bear sighting

Black bears are not typically aggressive, but police warn if you see one always keep a safe distance, speak in a firm, loud voice and calmly back away.

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