CINCINNATI – We barely knew him, and now it looks like he's gone.
Cincinnati's visiting black bear hasn't been seen since Monday and may be headed back to the Kentucky hills.
Wildlife officials aren't searching for him, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday.
It would be useless to set traps for the bear and too dangerous to shoot him with a tranquilizer dart – even if they knew where to look for him, the spokesperson said.
The 2-year-old, 85-pound bear was last seen in Madeira after sightings in Milford, Montgomery, Indian Hill and Oakley. He was first spotted in the eastern suburbs on June 22.
Most residents were excited to catch a glimpse of the young bear, and authorities said the bear didn't pose any danger to people or pets as long as they gave him space and didn't approach or corner him.
While he was here, many people were amused to have a bear running loose, suggested names for him (Beary Larkin), and posted photoshopped images of the bear visiting Graeter's, Fountain Square and Great American Ball Park on his Twitter page.
The young bear probably was looking for a mate, left his Kentucky habitat when his family group broke up, and got lost, according to Steve Dobey, Bear Program Coordinator for the Kentucky Department for Fish & Wildlife Resources.
"June is the peak of mating season. Male bears get crazy, and there's only one thing on their minds," Dobey told WCPO last week.
Dobey thinks the bear may have traveled 50 to 100 miles from his Kentucky home and swam across the Ohio River into Clermont County.
"Unfortunately, he's gone to the wrong place," Dobey said.
There are no black bears in southwest Ohio - unless they strayed from Kentucky.
The bear may be headed back to the eastern Kentucky mountains or Daniel Boone National Forest, Dobey said.