Bear Removed From Northwestern MI Travels 90 Miles To Get Back
Even this bear knows that the west coast is the best coast.
Listen, I'm not trying to start fights with any East Siders - ALL of Michigan is great, but as a native West Michigander, I do tend to think our portion of the Mitten State is amazing! And apparently, one young bear thinks so too -- he loves it so much, he trekked approximately 90 miles to get back to it!
According to the Traverse City Record Eagle,
State wildlife officials in April trapped a black bear notorious for raids on bird feeders and trash cans on Traverse City’s west side. They gave the bruin a lip tattoo, some ear tags, removed a tooth to determine his age, fitted him with a radio collar and carted him in a metal, tube-shaped trap 90-some miles away to nearly Alpena to release him
And now, he's back. Experts with the DNR tracked his movements as he made his way back to the west side of Traverse City.
Steve Griffith, DNR wildlife biologist from the Traverse City office, tells the Record Eagle,
For some reason he likes the Lake Michigan coast...He’s got a sweet tooth or a lazy bone or I don’t know what.
OK, so *maybe* it's not that the bear is enamored with Michigan's west coast - Griffith says it's likely "more to do with learned habits on familiar territory." So basically, he came back for the grub: "Most black bears avoid humans, but this one seems unbothered by proximity to people if it means easy-to-come-by meals," the Record-Eagle reports.
Apparently, the bear has been on pretty good behavior so far. While some sightings have been called in by area residents, no trash can or bird feeder-raids have been reported. If he goes back to that though, Griffith says they could possibly try to relocate him again:
The biologist said there’s been talk among state wildlife officials about re-capturing the bear and relocating it as far away as into the Upper Peninsula, should it become a marauder again. But there are wildlife disease factors to consider in that equation because the Straits of Mackinac form a natural barrier between Upper and Lower Michigan for black bears.
Placement at a wildlife preserve could also be an option.
Black bear sightings are not uncommon throughout Michigan during the spring and summer months. The Michigan DNR has several tips for dealing with bears, including removing food sources - like those bird feeders this traveling bear likes to snack from. You can find out more here.