Search is on in New Albany for injured bear, struck on I-64

This bear print was spotted in the mud in New Albany.
This bear print was spotted in the mud in New Albany.(WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Nov. 19, 2018 at 4:28 PM EST
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The bear was spotted on Interstate 64 near mile marker 121.

NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - A black bear was hit by a vehicle on Interstate 64 near mile marker 121 in New Albany.

A spokesman for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (INDNR) said the bear was hit around 8 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s unfortunate and unusual for a bear to be hit on an Indiana roadway,” Brad Westrich, DNR mammologist, said in a press release. “But bear sightings are nothing to be alarmed about. As bear populations expand in neighboring states, it’s only natural that they become more common here.”

Westrich said it’s possible the bears are crossing the Ohio River into southern Indiana a number of ways.

“The bears are excellent swimmers so they can be crossing the Ohio River at any point along it,” Westrich said. “They're also very clever so they might be crossing bridges in the dead of night when traffic is very low.”

As the migratory trend continues, traffic might be the least of the bears’ problems.

Finding food sources close to people make bears a nuisance, a situation that often leads to a bear’s death.

INDNR investigators said the bear was hurt and disappeared into an area of heavy brush. According to a press release, the department is attempting to track the bear.

A short time later there was a second sighting of a bear less than two miles away to the north.

"The terrrain around that area is more rugged, more remote,” Conservation Officer Jim Hash said. “So that is going to be an area where you're typically going to see wildlife at.”

New Albany Police Chief Todd Bailey asked the public to call police if the bear is sighted.

INDNR said black bears are rarely aggressive toward humans. They advised people to keep their distance and to not attempt to feed the bear.

In case of a surprise encounter with a bear, INDNR said, “Advertise your presence by shouting and waving your arms and backing slowly away.”

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