DNR says bear sighting at Holiday World was a hoax

DNR says bear sighting at Holiday World was a hoax
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 10:31 AM EDT
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SANTA CLAUS, Ind. (WFIE) - Santa Claus Police have removed the post about a bear sighting at Holiday World.

Officials with DNR tell us the sighting was a hoax. They say the photo was a sighting in Oregon last year.

Holiday World officials say they shared the news of the report being false as soon as they found out.

“In this day in age it’s really important that ya know you don’t deceive people you work with, people around, because this got taken very seriously and we just apologize to all of the resources that we used today with this confusion,” said Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari Director of Communications Leah Koch-Blumhardt.

Earlier Tuesday, police said they were contacted by Holiday Word Security about a bear caught on camera at the park. They said it was seen on camera around 2:45 a.m. Tuesday morning. Police warned people to be cautious and never approach wild animals.

Now that officials know the incident was a false report, Santa Claus Police Chief James Faulkenburg says the incident wasted both time and resources.

“To my knowledge there were people leaving work ya know racing home to out their dogs in their houses because they were concerned,” said Chief Faulkenburg. “My wife even contacted me concerned about walking on the trail here in Santa Claus. Ya know it’s just the fear and fear can cause chaos.”

Chief Faulkenburg says the person of interest will be spoken with and they will continue to look into the situation.

Holiday World officials say they don’t take these matters lightly, but they will not disclose the future of that employee.

Holiday World later shared they were embarrassed by the hoax.

Bears have been seen in our area over the last several years, including one that was spotted several times in Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties in 2021.

DNR says bear sighting at Holiday World was a hoax
DNR says bear sighting at Holiday World was a hoax