EPHRAIM, Utah — Some concerned citizens and police officers made sure a bear made it safely back to the wilderness after it was spotted in a Utah town.
Ephraim City Police said they received a report of a bear in the Pioneer Cemetery, and the people who spotted it were worried because it was heading toward U.S. Highway 89.
Officers were able to arrive in time to stop traffic so the bear could safely cross the road.
An officer with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources then followed the bear east into the mountains to make sure it was "safe and sound."
The police department initially said it was a brown bear. However, the DWR clarified to FOX 13 News that Utah only has black bears — although the species can come in many different colors, including brown.
This sighting was just one day after another black bear made its way onto a middle school campus in Morgan County.
The DWR reminded Utahns that the chance of a bear encounter increases as the drought continues in the state. Because of the lack of normal food supply, bears are forced to seek alternate sources, which can lead them into more heavily populated areas.
“The lower food supply could lead to more bear conflicts this summer as bears look more broadly for food,” said DWR game mammals coordinator Darren DeBloois. “We’re anticipating a possible increase in incidents this year of bears getting into people’s garbage and scavenging for food.”
The DWR advised residents to remove the following items from their property to avoid attracting bears:
- Birdfeeders (both seed and hummingbird)
- Fruit trees
- Compost piles
- Pet food and water bowls
- Unsupervised outdoor pets (especially at night)
- Barbecue grills
Neighborhood garbage cans should be bear-proofed, and should only be set out in the morning, rather than the night before.