Wildlife biologists say a black bear that’s roaming southern Indiana — only the second confirmed wild bear in the state since the 1870s — is the latest sign the adaptable animals are rebounding across the nation.
An increase in forested land and changes in hunting regulations since the 1980s have boosted black bear numbers in states with resident populations and sent them ambling across borders.
Indiana could be the next state to establish a breeding population, due to a good habitat and growing numbers of the animals in adjacent states.
Indiana’s first sighting came last year, when a Michigan bear repeatedly visited northern Indiana.
The second bear apparently swam across the Ohio River from Kentucky.
Indiana nongame mammologist Taylor Rasmussen says southern Indiana’s hilly forests would provide good habitat for bears.