Bear sightings could represent a healthier forest, GPF officials say

BLACK HILLS, S.D. — A black bear was sighted in a residential area in Lead over the weekend – affirming where the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks receives most of their calls.

“Particularly in the Northern Black Hills of South Dakota where we have large forested areas, we have mouthiness terrain and of course we have good habitat for wildlife,” said Mike Klosowski, regional wildlife supervisor for western South Dakota.

Since 2018, GFP has averaged around 12 to 15 calls a year.

Could this mean the Black Hills has it’s own bear population?!

Not exactly.

Some of those sightings could be the same bear, again, traveling into an area that has human inhabitants.

In response to the sightings, GFP created a bear response plan to guide the staff through follow up investigations and encourage people to continue to call if they have their suspicions.

Officials say that it’s common for larger animals in places like Wyoming and Minnesota to come to a place like the Black Hills in search of a place to settle.

But the sightings still mean more than just a rare occurrence. Officials say it could also represent a healthier forest.

“They truly do need wild areas and here in the Black Hills we do have some of that habitat and any time that you have a larger diversity of animals is an indicator that you have a healthy forest and a wild area,” Klosowski said.

At this time the GFP continues to record, monitor, and map the sightings but remind the public to keep areas clean of food, trash and even dog food that could attract bears and other wildlife.

Security camera footage of the bear in Lead is available to view below:

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News