ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) - A bicyclist on the White Pine Trail spotted a black bear near 14 Mile Road in Rockford Friday morning, but the Michigan DNR is satisfied the bear is moving north and away from more populated areas.
Following this initial Friday report, the DNR received information the bear was sighted near 17 Mile Road.
Though there is no way to completely tell if this is the same bear spotted at various spots throughout West Michigan this week, officials believe this is the same bear seen at the Blythefield Country Club on Thursday.
The DNR thinks that the bear is the equivalent of a restless teen who was probably kicked out of his habitat north of West Michigan by mature bears and went looking for a home.
"The bear population in the north part of the state is doing well. So what you get is the adult bears have their home and they kick out the younger bears. The only place for them to go is south," said DNR Wildlife Biologist Chad Fedema. "So we are going to start to see more and more sightings of those young bears trying to venture out and find their own territory."
The DNR believe the bear used the Grand River basin to get here and to leave because bears prefer the cover of the woods that line the banks. They said the fact that there have not been additional sightings in Greenville or Lowell make it seem likely that there is only one bear.
But since he didn't find a place to set up his home, the DNR thinks he is simply moving on--a disappointment among researchers who wanted a closer look.
"We had set out a couple of traps in locations where sightings had been earlier this week," said Fedema. "Obviously he kept moving so the traps are going to be pulled and at this point we don't have any intentions of setting them."
However, that doesn't mean West Michigan residents won't see more of them in the future.
"Our research biologists would like to get some collars on some bears in the southern part of the state since they are moving south," said Fedema.
The biologists hope to help residents better understand bears and their habitat, including what residents should do if they see a bear.
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.
Police say snow made roads "treacherous" Sunday and urged people to stay home if possible.