A bear in the suburbs? Police investigate sighting near Gurnee Mills mall
The Chicago football team may not be the only bears exploring a move to the suburbs.
Gurnee police said a real bear may have been spotted near Gurnee Mills mall on Wednesday.
Authorities said they were made aware of a possible bear sighting near the busy commercial intersection of Route 132 and Hunt Club Road about 8:45 a.m. A video circulating on social media purports to show the black bear running through the parking lot of the Hunt Club KinderCare preschool.
Police officers immediately checked the area, but the bear was nowhere to be found, officials said.
Anyone who sees a bear should not approach it, but call the dispatch center at (847) 599-7000, extension 0, and they will respond to the area with local wildlife authorities.
Though there are currently no resident populations of black bear in Illinois, there have been five bear sightings confirmed in the state since 2008, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
But that's primarily been in the northwest corner of the state -- not the more dense suburbs of Chicago.
The most recent report -- confirmed by a state biologist -- was that of a black bear traveled through JoDaviess County in June 2020. The next day, the bear was seen in Iowa. The animal later returned to Illinois and traveled through Rock Island and Henderson counties.
Still, state officials said the potential exists for bears from existing populations in Wisconsin and Missouri to travel to Illinois.