It's one thing if a bear is spotted at near a college campus in northern Minnesota, but it's an entirely different animal when a bear is seen roaming through close to a campus in the Twin Cities metro area.
That's exactly what happened Sunday morning, according to the public safety department at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
"This morning, officers were flagged down on Mississippi River Blvd. A jogger reported seeing a young adult black bear walking near the river to the west of the road," the department tweeted.
There don't appear to be any photos to document the sighting, but nonetheless the incident was taken seriously and public safety officials advised anyone in the area to refer to DNR safety protocols for bears.
"It’s normal to be somewhat alarmed if you come face-to-face with a black bear. But the reality is that black bears are rarely aggressive. Actual attacks by black bears are rare," the DNR says.
in the rare event that a black bear gets aggressive, the DNR advises the following actions be taken:
- Talk to it in a firm voice.
- Back away, and keep watching the bear. Do not turn and run.
- If a bear follows you, act boldly: yell, raise your arms and throw things directly at it.
- The more persistent a bear is, the more aggressive you need to be.
- If you have bear spray, use it.
- If a bear attacks or tries to make contact, fight for your life. Do not play dead. Kick, punch or hit the bear with whatever weapon is available. Concentrate on the face, eyes and nose.
Mississippi River Blvd. runs mostly north-south on the west side of UST's campus, though it does track eastward towards O'Shaughnessy Stadium at Shadow Falls Park.