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Officials with the Ohio Division of Wildlife confirmed Tuesday that the black bear found dead Monday in Liberty Township had suffered fatal injuries before being discovered on a resident’s property.
Division of Wildlife spokeswoman Jamie Emmert said upon examination, it was evident the 190-pound male bear suffered several contusions and internal bleeding, suggesting it may have been hit by a vehicle.
Further testing will be needed to confirm the exact age of the bear, but Emmert said she suspects it was 2 to 3 years old.
The bear was found Monday afternoon by Paul Rella as he was mowing grass around his mother’s home on Tanglewood Drive. He found the black bear dead near a tree on the property.
“It did surprise me. We’ve had other sightings in the area,” Rella said.
Monday was the closest Rella has seen one to a house. But Liberty police said the count is up to four in the past month.
And the stories are incredible.
“Me and another officer saw one behind Katie’s Korner in the dumpster and eating ice cream,” said Liberty police officer Pete DeAngelo.
DeAngelo saw another bear scoop two handfuls of seed out of a bird feeder and eat it, but the animal realized it was a buffet.
“Stood back up, lifted the glass and scooped two more handfuls. Laid down, ate the seed and when it got full, walked back in the woods. Pretty smart,” said DeAngelo.
The state agency said there were 224 black bear sightings in Ohio last year, and Trumbull County had the most confirmed sightings with 10. Mahoning County had five confirmed sightings last year. Black bears are a protected species in Ohio.
The ODNR said anyone who sees a bear should call 1-800 WILDLIFE so the experts can record it.