BRISTOL, Ind. (AP) — State wildlife officials are investigating after a black bear was found dead in far northern Indiana in one of only a handful of confirmed instances of the mammal in the state since the late 19th century.
Indiana Department of Natural Resource officials notified about the bear found its carcass Wednesday morning along S.R. 15 in the Elkhart County town of Bristol, near the entrance to the Indiana Toll Road, said Brad Westrich, a DNR mammologist.
He said a necropsy would be performed to investigate how the bear died and provide other information on its condition, The Elkhart Truth reported. The bear was in an advanced state of decomposition when it was found at the site a few miles south of the Michigan border. Westrich said.
“At this time, we don’t know if someone hit it on the toll road or how the bear died,” he said.
Black bears are rarely seen in Indiana. Westrich said there have been only a handful of confirmed bear sightings in Indiana since 1871, with this being just the fifth confirmed instance of the species in the state.
The most recent sighting was in June in southwestern Indiana. In 2015, a black bear was confirmed wandering through northern Indiana between Michigan City and South Bend.