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VIDEO: Black bear crosses Mississippi River

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CLARKSVILLE, Mo. (WGEM) — A black bear who left Wisconsin and has traveled through Iowa and Illinois, may be making his way to Missouri.

The bear, nicked named "Bruno" on social media, can be seen in a video crossing the Mississippi River Tuesday evening.

In the video, taken by Joe Hartsock of Pleasant Hill, Illinois, the bear is crossing the Mississippi River in front Lock and Dam 24 at Clarksville Missouri..

However, the bear did not cross all the way to Missouri.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) officials confirmed that the bear crossed the Mississippi River onto Island 464 near Clarksville.

IDNR officials could not confirm Wednesday morning if the bear was still on the island.

IDNR biologists have been closely monitoring the bear since it crossed into Illinois from Wisconsin June 10. The bear then crossed into Iowa and came back into Illinois in southern Rock Island County June 18.

Stefanie Fitzsimons, district wildlife biologist for IDNR said the bear is likely just passing through the state looking for a mate and won’t stay long because Illinois doesn’t provide appropriate habitat for an animal that big. The most important thing to remember if people spot the bear is that it’s a wild animal and should be treated as such. In fact, Fitzsimons added, people should stay at least 100 yards away from the bear and enjoy watching it from a distance.

Black bears are native to Illinois’ neighboring states and were common in Illinois when settlers arrived but disappeared by the mid-1880s. They are now protected by the Illinois Wildlife Code and may not be hunted, killed or harassed unless there is an imminent threat to person or property.

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Jim Roberts

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