Officials urge caution following bear sightings near St. Paul

A photo of a black bear in North Oaks.
The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office says a person sent this photo of a black bear in North Oaks last week. Authorities believe a single bear is likely behind sightings in several St. Paul suburbs in recent days.
Courtesy of Ramsey County Sheriff's Office

Ramsey County authorities are warning people in St. Paul's northern suburbs to be on the lookout for a black bear.

Reports suggest the animal has been spotted in North Oaks, White Bear Township and Polar Lakes Park, near the Tamarack Nature Center. It was spotted shortly after 6:30 Monday morning along Centerville Road near Greenhaven Drive in Vadnais Heights.

Ramsey County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Roy Magnuson said that it may be the same bear, and that large animals are occasionally spotted moving through the less densely populated parts of the county, particularly in the fall. He said the bear is unlikely to pose any danger, but people should use caution around any animal, and pick up any small pets or children that may get the animal's attention.

Magnuson said authorities would like to know if residents spot the animal. He added that people should take precautions and not leave out any items that may be attractive to a hungry bear.

“Call us,” Magnuson said. “Let us know. Stay away. Take your bird food down.”

It's the second time this year a bear has been spotted in the east metro suburbs. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shot and killed a black bear in North St. Paul in April after it started to attract onlookers to the area.

The sightings come just days after a Maple Plain woman was killed by a black bear outside her family’s cabin on an island in Rainy Lake, just across the Canadian border.

Bear biologist Dave Garshelis of the DNR says attacks by black bears are extremely rare, and that no fatal encounters have been fully documented. He said there have been only seven people hospitalized in connection with bear attacks in Minnesota since records began in 1987.

Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.