WADENA, Iowa — An adult black bear and her two cubs may be on the hunt for some honey in Clayton County.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources received two reports from landowners in the area. One came from a local beekeeper, whom discovered his beehives had been destroyed along with bear tracks and scat belonging to the potential culprit.
A DNR wildlife depredation biologist confirmed the tracks and scat left came from a black bear.
The other landowner reported that he had seen a bear, which he estimated to be a female around 200 pounds, as well as two cubs.
According to the agency, if reports of cubs are true, they would be the first cubs documented in Iowa in more than 140 years. Once native to Iowa, black bears have not had wild populations in the state since the 1800s.
“It is not unheard of for us to get one report of a bear sighting per year,” DNR information specialist Joe Wilkinson added. He said the northeastern part of Iowa is usually where reports are made.
In case of a sighting, the DNR encourages people to leave the bears alone and not feed them.
“Wild bears generally avoid people, keeping to themselves and moving along,” said Vince Evelsizer, DNR furbearer and wetland biologist. “That said, we do want people to know there is one around, and we encourage them to give the bear its space — don’t harass or follow the bear, especially if do we have a female bear with cubs.”
The DNR’s investigation continues in the area, the agency said in a news release.