NEVADA — The state Department of Conservation says a black bear has been seen wandering in rural west-central Missouri.
The agency says conservation agent Justin Fogle confirmed the sighting last week in Vernon County near the Kansas border. The bear was seen northeast of Nevada, Mo.
While black bears are native to Missouri, they were almost eliminated from the state in the 1800s. The department says some bears returned to southern Missouri after a re-introduction in Arkansas that began in the 1950s.
The department said most of Missouri's 150 to 300 black bears are found in the Ozarks farther south and east than the Vernon County sighting.
Conservation agents also say that most bears pose little threat, and it's illegal to kill a black bear in Missouri except to protect a person or property.