Police urge west St. Louis County residents to beware of a bear

BALLWIN, Mo. - The Ballwin Police Department is urging residents in the southern portion of town to be on the lookout for a black bear that was spotted in a residential area.

According to a post on the department's Facebook page, someone spotted an adult black bear in a common area on Oak Run Lane near the Castle Pines subdivision just after 8:30 Sunday night (June 17). Police alerted the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Recently, bears have been seen in Pevely and Festus. A bear was also spotted south of the viewing area in Van Buren. According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, black bears are native to Missouri, and they are making a comeback after the population was nearly wiped out.

An adult black bear will average three feet tall at the shoulder and five to six feet tall when standing on its hind legs. Adult female black bears can weigh up to 200 pounds and males can weigh as much as 500 pounds.

Experts say black bears eat both plants and animals and have an excellent sense of smell. Ballwin police are recommending residents in the southern portion of Ballwin keep their animals inside, bring in their trash and be alert to a possible bear in the area.

If you see the bear, do not approach it. Call Ballwin police at 636-227-9636.

Ballwin Police Update: 

"We have not had any additional sightings of the bear since last night. We have been in contact with the Department of Conservation. They viewed a video of the bear from last night that has been circulating on local media. They described the bear as a young black bear. They feel as though the bear was away from their family and would be returning to more secluded areas."

They provided the following tips:

  • Do not approach a bear
  • Do not feed a bear
  •  Bring dog/cat food inside, if it is left outside
  • Do not leave trash cans curbside overnight
  • Bring in bird feeders

If you encounter a bear:

  • Back away slowly with your arms raised
  • Speak in a calm, loud voice
  • Do not turn your back to the bear
  • Walk away slowly, DO NOT RUN

"If you see a bear, please report the sighting. If you have any additional questions about black bears, please contact the Department of Conservation."