ELSBERRY, Mo. – A bear migrating from Wisconsin to Missouri has nearly 150,000 Facebook fans following his trip through the Midwest. A crowd gathered after he got cornered near I-70 in Wentzville Sunday. Police shared this update about his condition last night:
“Just an update on the bear that passed through Elsberry July 1st. His name is Bruno and he was tranquilized by Conservation and moved away from the metro area for his safety and the public’s,” write the Elsbury Police Department on Facebook.
An Elsberry, Missouri police officer spotted a black bear along a dirt road while patrolling Wednesday night. The town is around 50 miles north of St. Louis.
Bruno was spotted in Wentzville on Sunday. The Missouri Department of Conservation says that he had been cornered just north of I-70 and near I-40. Around 400 people had gathered at the scene.
“Due to the proximity to the roadways, coupled with the busy travel day, MDC staff determined the bear had little chance of safely leaving the area on its own. In the interest of public safety and the bear’s safety, MDC staff made the decision to immobilize the bear and transport it to a nearby area of suitable bear habitat outside this urban corridor,” writes the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The bear was released unharmed after it woke up outside an urban area. The Missouri Department of Conservation says that they don’t typically tranquilize bears. But, Bruno was in an area that he could run into some trouble.
Missouri’s bear population is growing approximately 9% annually and dispersing bears have appeared in the greater St. Louis area before, a trend that is likely to continue with the growing bear population.
Bruno was first seen in Wisconsin on May 10, then crossed into Illinois a month later and is now in Missouri.
The Missouri Department of Conservation says it’s not uncommon for bears to travel across the state of Missouri. If you see him, consider yourself lucky, snap a picture, report his location, and give him his space.