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Bear Sightings Cause Stir In West Michigan

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Black bear.
(credit: Michigan DNR, File photo)

Black bear.
(credit: Michigan DNR, File photo)

MUSKEGON (WWJ/AP) - Police say a bear that was reportedly seen swimming in a West Michigan lake has been spotted near a bike path in Muskegon.

The Muskegon Chronicle and WGHN-AM reported that a portion of the bike path was closed Monday morning until further notice because of the bear.

Police, who described the animal only as a black bear, said it’s been causing a stir among area residents.  Authorities said they cornered the animal around midday Monday and hoped to get it to leave the area.

First reports said dredge workers spotted the bear swimming in Muskegon Lake.

A manager at Great Lakes Marina told WWJ Newsradio 950 that while no one there saw the creature, employees at Great Lakes Dock and Material claimed the bear was on the water around 7:30 a.m. Monday.

The DNR said the bear apparently came from North Muskegon area before it swam across the lake.

According to the DNR, black bears are generally fearful of humans and flee if they sense you.

Bear experts say that in the rare circumstance that you encounter a bear that does not turn and leave, first try to scare it off by yelling while leaving a clear, unobstructed escape route for the bear. If the bear stands its ground, makes threatening sounds, take slow steps backward while continuing to talk to the bear in a stern tone. In the rare event of an attack, the DNR says you should fight back with a backpack, stick or your bare hands.

Police are asking anyone who spots the bear to call 911.

For more from the DNR bear behavior, click here.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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