Large forest serves as a valuable wildlife corridor
Clermont, KY – Bernheim officials announced the first-ever sighting of a black bear in the 14,500-acre forest. The bear, likely a male, was spotted this weekend in the Cypress Tupelo Swamp area of Lake Nevin in Guerilla Stream. The stream is known for its bass population upon which the bear may have been feeding. The bear has not been seen since Sunday and officials say it has likely moved out of this area.
“We are fairly certain he was looking for a mate like the other bears sighted in the Central Kentucky region in the past couple of months,” said Dr. Mark Wourms, Bernheim’s Executive Director.
Bernheim Forest Manager Andrew Berrry said that the bears are following the corridor of knobs that leads from the Appalachian Plateau up into the Greater Bernheim area.
“Every summer there are several bears that make the journey and usually return back to the mountains before fall,” said Wourms.
While there has been evidence that bears have previously traveled through Bernheim, there had not been a documented sighting in its 87-year history. Wourms attributed the recent bear sightings to the rebound of oak/hickory forests throughout the state and to Bernheim’s protection of thousands of acres of forest, fields and streams.
“Our protection of waterways and forests, as well as the natural lands protected by our fine neighbors, provide critical corridors for large and small mammals that move through or live in this area,” said Wourms.
Wourms called the sighting thrilling and noted that including the bear, 46 species of mammals have been found at Bernheim.
“We are striving to become a nationally recognized leader in ecological stewardship,” said Wourms. That means providing healthy habitats for wildlife of all kinds.”
Berry added that black bear are typically shy in nature, but reminded people that they are powerful wild animals. “If you are lucky enough to observe one, keep your distance, do not feed or follow, and as always keep your dog on leash,” said Berry
Berry said that the Bernheim team always wants to know more about the wildlife within the Greater Bernheim Ecological District. Contact Bernheim by emailing [email protected] or calling the Bernheim reception desk at (502) 955-8512.