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July 4, 2014

Officials warn of increased black bear sightings

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —

The London area has experienced a recent surge in bear sightings, with six bears being spotted within the last few weeks.

“Just in the past two or three weeks we’ve had quite a number of bear sightings,” said District Ranger Jason Nedlo, who said that the “bear population in this area is increasing.”

Nedlo said the reason the bear population is on the rise is because of forests like the Daniel Boone National Forest.  These managed lands provide a good habitat from bears due to their protected environment and mostly isolated zones.

But now bears are moving closer to people.  A bear sighting recently occurred at the Bald Rock picnic area.  Another happened at Mt. Victory, and another south of HWY 80 past the drag strip.

Tried, and True Tattoo/Body Piercing owner Brad Mallory experienced a bear sighting three weeks ago when he and his family were on their way to Somerset.  

“We’re driving, and this bear just runs out from the tree line,” said Mallory.  “He was a full grown black bear.”

Mallory and his group then proceeded to observe the bear, which seemed to be more scared of them than they were of him.

“I don’t feel threatened by them at all,” said Mallory.  “There’s no reason to be scared of them.”

Jackson County has also experienced bear sightings in recent weeks according to Nedlo.

“Just last weekend we had one reported at a camp in Jackson County,” said Nedlo, who also said that bear sightings are not only increasing, but are not following a similar pattern.

“It doesn’t seem to be consistent in the same place,” said Nedlo.  “We don’t keep getting the same report over and over again.”

While bear patterns are hard to predict, Nedlo did point a trend he noticed from recent years.

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North Laurel won its second straight Senior League State Championship with a 6-3 decision over Lewis County. Much of this same team also won a state title as 11-year-olds.

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