LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) - On both Sunday and Monday, viewers sent in amazing photos and video of black bears spotted in Greenville and near Lowell.
The Department of Natural Resources believes it was likely the same bear -- but it can't be sure.
After two consecutive days, many wondered how the DNR deals with the bear population.
The State of Michigan's bear expert Adam Bump said most of the bear problems in the state are actually people problems.
"Probably just about all of them -- and a lot of them are perception issues," said Bump.
Bump, who has studied bears in Michigan extensively, said people in southern Michigan may have to learn how to live with them.
Bump said the Michigan black bear is on the move south.
"The reality is that for the last five-plus years, we have had established bear populations in the greater Grand Rapids area. So it is where they are supposed to be," said Bump.
In recent years, the DNR has had to expand hunting zones accordingly. For the 2012 bear season, most areas of the state will see a reduction in the number of permits issued. But in the zone nearest to Grand Rapids, there will be more permits issued simply because there are more bears.
It's to be expected, then, that there will be more encounters between people and bears and that they will take place among a population that does not yet understand bears.
"They don't recognize it as a species that's supposed to be there, so they think the DNR should take the animal and put it back where it belongs," said Bump.
The DNR said what happened in Greenville is the best-case scenario for bear encounters. The bear wandered off on it's own -- and the DNR says most will.
Bump said though it is usually safe to tranquilize and move a bear, it can sometimes pose far more serious risks to the animal.
He said perhaps the DNR's biggest challenge now will be how people act around bears -- not how bears act around people.
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.
Investigators in Montcalm County are working to determine what led up to a deadly crash.