Roaming Ohio black bear spotted in Oakley near Crossroads Church

CINCINNATI -- Sunday morning was exciting for residents of Oakley, as Cincinnati police spotted the black bear that's been roaming southwest Ohio in a frustrating attempt to find love.

Shortly before 7 a.m., John Ott, a volunteer at Crossroads Church, called police to report seeing the bear near the intersections of Ridge Avenue and Madison Road.

Cincinnati police at first said they were skeptical of the report until they spotted the bear in the area.

After visually confirming the bear's presence, a wildlife resource officer from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was called to the scene as the animal continued its path along a creek bed near Duck Creek Road.

Wildlife officials in Kentucky began tracking the 2-year-old black bear before it crossed the Ohio River into Clermont County. Since that time the bear has gripped the attention of residents as it was spotted on Tuesday in Miami Township, then in Montgomery and Madeira on Friday .

Steven Dobey, Bear Program Coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources , said the young male probably is in the area for one reason, and one reason alone.

"June is the peak of mating season. Male bears get crazy, and there's only one thing on their minds," says Steven Dobey, Bear Program Coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources. "Unfortunately, he's gone to the wrong place."

It would seem, as Dobey predicted, the bear is heading south after a frustrating journey, since black bears have yet to populated the southwest region of Ohio. In total, according to the ODNR only about 50 black bears live in Ohio, and mostly to the north.

Officials said black bears are generally harmless if left alone and plan to allow the one spotted Sunday to amble back home, only observing it to make sure it remains safe in its journey.

Shannon Kettler contributed to this report.

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