Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission
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Live Bear Educational Program in Decorah on 7/31

The Winneshiek County Conservation Board and the Pella Wildlife Company will present “Bears of Iowa” on Tuesday, July 31 at 6:30 p.m. in Room 117 of Valders Memorial Hall of Science on the Luther College campus.

The event is open to the public with no charge for admission.

“Bears of Iowa” features two live black bear cubs, and discusses species identification, behavior, impact on agriculture, and interactions with people. The program focuses on habituation, urban wildlife conflicts, and how to safely photograph and interact with wildlife in their natural habitat.

The non-profit Pella Wildlife Company, licensed under the U.S. Animal Welfare Act of the USDA and located in Des Moines, Iowa, was established in 2006 to focus on three areas of animal welfare: education, sustainability, and conservation. It strives to help the public understand our history, participate in conservation, and preserve the future habitat and ecosystems we all share and live in.

A black bear has recently been reported roaming across northeast Iowa, and has been sighted several times in Winneshiek, Allamakee, Fayette, and other counties. Black bears in Iowa are almost always young males from established populations in Wisconsin or Minnesota that are searching for mates and have been forced out of their territories by more dominant males.

Black bears were once widespread across Iowa, particularly in more heavily wooded areas. As Iowa was settled, the killing of many bears for food and hides and the loss of their forested habitat dramatically decreased the bear population, to the extent that the last historical sighting of a bear in Iowa was in 1876 near Spirit Lake. New reports of black bears in Iowa began to occur in the 1960s. The recent rise in sightings in Iowa is due to increasing black bear populations in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

For more information on this program, please contact the Winneshiek County Conservation Board at (563) 534-7145.