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Black bears spotted once again

By Matt Bartosik
|  Wednesday, May 19, 2010  |  Updated 12:16 PM CDT
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Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Illinois is looking more and more like the Land of Oz.

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Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Illinois is looking more and more like the Land of Oz these days.

Last year, a "big cat" was sighted in Wheaton. A year before that, a cougar was found roaming the North Side of Chicago.

Now, a Bureau County Sheriff's Deputy has confirmed that  two black bears—a mother and cub— have been traveling together on Saturday near Tiskilwa, Illinois (about 50 miles north of Peoria).

"We get these reports all the time. People see mountain lions. They see bears," Illinois Conservation Police Officer Sgt. Robert Frazier told the Peoria Journal Star. "And I've always halfway dismissed them. But then we find a mountain lion in Chicago. We find a bear in Bureau County. You can't dismiss them."

From the northwest shores to the Colorado Rockies to the Appalachian Mountains, black bears live all over the U.S.

But they don't live in the Midwest. That's what makes this sighting so significant.

Authorities are concerned that a pattern is developing. Last February, a black bear was found hibernating in a drainage ditch in the same area, reports the Journal Star.

Officials are warning residents not to approach the bears, especially since the mother will aggressively defend her cub.

Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.

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