A black bear that disrupted a Cub Scout meeting in Monday night is presumably roaming the woods of Indiana County now. But his visit is a sign of a growing trend.
"This year, we've had a few bears in northern Allegheny County, and their population is expanding. They are getting into more non-traditional areas, such as North Park," said Tom Fazi, information and education supervisor of the southwest region of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
"They have easy access, since most of the rivers and streams in this area are underdeveloped. Those river hillsides are like a highway for wildlife," he said.
After tracking the bear Monday night, wildlife conservation officer Dan Puhala in a yard off of Pioneer Road in Hampton Township. The bear was tagged in Wexford, and then driven to state gamelands in Indiana County where it was released Tuesday morning.
“We’re hoping these extended hunting seasons will keep the bears out of the areas we don’t want them, like North Park,” said Fazi. “The bear was tagged, and should he return, we will take him farther away.”
But Fazi said if a bear repeatededly returns to the same area, or becomes aggressive, it would be euthanized.
The bear caught in North Park had no tag, which means, at least to the Game Commission, he was a first-time visitor.