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Rare black bear sighting near Rockford

Published: Monday, June 9, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

ROCKFORD (AP) – There has been a rare black bear sighting in Illinois.

Winnebago County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home near Rockford Saturday morning where a resident spotted a bear eating berries outside. The Beloit Daily News reports the startled bear then ran east into a wooded area.

A phone alert was issued for area residents. A male black bear can weigh up to 350 pounds.

Early Sunday morning, Roscoe police spotted a bear, too. And the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said they’ve had sightings in Freeport and Stockton in recent days.

The University of Illinois Extension says black bears were once widely hunted but eliminated in the state by 1870.

Animals not common in Illinois sometimes drift across the border from Wisconsin.

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