SPRINGFIELD -- A recent rash of bear sightings in northern Illinois has prompted some advice from state officials: No need to panic but take commonsense precautions.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller says people should not approach a bear, and should help keep them from becoming accustomed to people.
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That means removing bird feeders, dog food, trash cans and barbeque grills in areas where bears have been spotted to keep them from foraging for food in residential areas.
Bear sightings have been reported in Jo Daviess, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties. The most recent was near Oregon on Monday.
Black bears were once common in Illinois, but eliminated in the state by 1870. They will be protected under a new state law that takes effect in January.