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The Meijer parking lot bear is back in Traverse City

Reports of a black bear have been documented in Traverse City's west side near Great Wolf Lodge and the YMCA. It's believed to be the same bear that was seen in the Meijer parking lot last fall.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
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Reports of a black bear have been documented in Traverse City's west side near Great Wolf Lodge and the YMCA. It's believed to be the same bear that was seen in the Meijer parking lot last fall.

Reports of a black bear are again coming from residents in Traverse City. It’s believed to be the same bear seen roaming the Meijer parking lot last year.

The bear has been active west of U.S. Highway 31 near the Great Wolf Lodge, the Cherry Blossom movie theater and the YMCA.

Officials from the Department of Natural Resources tried trapping and relocating the elusive bear last year before it hibernated, but were unsuccessful.

“One of the issues may be that the bear is trap-shy,” said Steve Griffith, a DNR biologist. “Either it’s been trapped before or is just exceptionally suspicious of the live trap.”

Griffith says that’s why in addition to live-traps with food in them, he’s now trying to pre-bait a site without a trap.

“Get the bear used to coming in, and then introduce the trap.”

According to the DNR, the bear has mainly taken advantage of easy access to bird feeders in people’s yards. Griffith worries the animal is learning to associate people with food.

“We recommend not feeding the birds spring, summer and fall,” he said. “That’s when you are going to have bears active and potentially coming in to bird feeders. Those seasons are the time of plenty and there’s plenty of bird food…for the birds to get by naturally.”