Black bear reported in Lucas County Wildlife officers try to track down animal Photo Black bears, such as this one in Washington state, once populated northwest Ohio. ( SEATTLE TIMES ) Zoom By STEVE POLLICK BLADE OUTDOORS EDITOR A black bear, apparently a young male weighing about 100 pounds, was seen wandering western Lucas County yesterday as state wildlife officers were trying to track it down. About 4:10 p.m. yesterday, a Norfolk Southern railroad engineer reported seeing a bear cross the tracks just west of Albon Road. The bruin was headed north. Several other sightings were reported in the area, beginning in early morning, said Kevin Newsome, state wildlife officer in Lucas County. Dave Swanson, a forest game specialist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife, said the bear is the first reported in Lucas County in modern times. Historically, bears roamed the area in and around the Great Black Swamp. The bear may be the same one reported last Friday by Toledoan Scott Poole, who was driving to his lakeside cottage near Reading, Mich., in Hillsdale County. Mr. Poole said he saw a bear near M-49 and Camden Road, about seven miles north of the Ohio line. Over the weekend and early this week, state wildlife officers in Williams and Fulton counties took reports of a bear in their jurisdictions. Officers Tom Kochert and Bob Wolfram saw the bruin in Fulton County, Mr. Newsome said. Young males are known to travel 100 miles or more in search of their own territories. Ohio has a new and slowly growing resident bear population of 100 or fewer, mostly inhabiting forested areas along the Pennsylvania border and in southeast and south-central Ohio. But the local bruin may have come from southern lower Michigan. Michigan has a population of 14,000 or so black bears. Mr. Newsome said it is unclear whether the bear seen locally is wild, or one that escaped or was freed from captivity. "If it's wild, it would have had to come pretty darn far." But the wayward animal so far has caused no trouble, the wildlife officer said. "As far as I know, it has not even tipped over a garbage can." But if the bear approaches too close to heavily developed areas, an attempt will be made to trap it and release it away from population centers, Mr. Newsome said. Valerie Frawley, a wildlife technician with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said the Hillsdale County sighting was the southernmost on state record and that bear range seems to be expanding to the south. Several sightings also have been reported around Lansing, she added. Mr. Newsome said: "We hope he just heads back north.'' Contact Steve Pollick at: email@example.com or 419-724-6068.