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Black Bears May Move Into Southwest Kansas Due To Drought

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A black bear cub was killed in an accidental crash Monday near a Southwest Kansas town.

As the Wichita Eagle reports, the bear was found dead near Elkhart, Kansas. Black bears are an unusual sight for the area -- the last confirmed sighting in that county was in 2011.

But game wardens and biologists say there may be more bears in Southwest Kansas this year due to droughts and wildfires in New Mexico and Colorado. These conditions experts say, often push bears, especially young males, into Kansas.

Black bears are found in the high plains in Colorado and the Oklahoma panhandles. Black bears once were native to Kansas, but there are currently no permanent populations in the state. Experts say populations could return to Southwest Kansas though in the future.

Although black bears can be alarming, they generally aren’t dangerous as long as long as they’re given a wide berth and aren’t bothered or harassed.