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Jonsblond's avatar

Have you heard about the black bear journeying through western Illinois along the Mississippi?

Asked by Jonsblond (5956points) June 30th, 2020 from iPhone

His name is Bruno. He was first noticed in SW Wisconsin about 4 weeks ago. He was traveling south.

Bruno entered northern Illinois. He crossed the Mississippi River into NE Iowa then crossed the river again, back into Illinois. He is now traveling south along the river.

Bruno is expected to cross the river again any moment now where he can then venture south to the Mark Twain National Forest that also has a black bear population.

Here’s a news article:

There’s also a Facebook group named Keep Bruno Safe that you can join if you are interested in his journey.

The amazing thing about all of this is the DNR, Illinois State Police and other organizations are making sure Bruno is safe. The Facebook group is helping track Bruno and authorities are using this information to keep onlookers and traffic at a safe distance.

Bruno is giving a lot of people hope right now during a difficult time for all of us. I hope some of you will appreciate his story. :)

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29 Answers

ucme's avatar

I have now!
I agree, It’s a heartening, feel good story & hope Bruno reaches his pals safely at the MTNF.

Black Bears Matter ;-}

cookieman's avatar

That’s a really nice story and you’re right — Hope is desperately needed right now. Go Bruno!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I hope he makes it alright.

tinyfaery's avatar

Aww. I love this story.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This is so great! Thanks for sharing!

Jeruba's avatar


(But “bruno” means brown.)

Do they think there’s any way he could know there’s a black bear population ahead? A kind of bear-scented railway, so to speak?

Brian1946's avatar

If Bruno has his bearings, he’ll know where there’s a black bear population. ;-)

LostInParadise's avatar

Love the story, but have to wonder what prompted Bruno to make the journey. Also, how is he managing to feed himself? Can a bear go for four weeks without food?

Jonsblond's avatar

Bruno has safely made it across the Mississippi River and is now in Missouri! If I come across video I’ll share it. I had to work tonight and I just got home and so the update on Facebook.

Jeruba's avatar

@LostInParadise, why would he be going without food? He’s probably been feeding himself since he was a cub.

Jonsblond's avatar

@LostInParadise Bears eat all sorts of things. Bugs, small rodents, berries, other plant life and the inside of bark.

Jeruba's avatar

And fish. Which might be found in rivers.

Jonsblond's avatar

@Jeruba I’ve learned so much about bears since I became aware of his journey. It’s believed that he left Wisconsin because there is a growing wolf population in the northern part of the state. The experts believe that bears have an instinct and they somehow know how to find their way to other bear populations.

Jeruba's avatar

@Jonsblond, interesting. Also possible: he’s following the same signs that led them there. That is, maybe he’s not finding his way to them so much as doing the same thing they did before him.

Sort of like the quote of Basho: “Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise; seek what they sought.”

And who knows? Maybe he’s a scout.

deni's avatar

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I have had two run ins with black bears while camping in the past month, one of them particularly horrifying, and while I now have a bit more of a fear of them, I still respect them so much. They are such big beautiful creatures. I wish humans weren’t such slobs and could stop contributing to the deaths of so many of these animals.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@LostInParadise why would you think he’s going without food?

LostInParadise's avatar

If he is wandering mainly outside of forests, I thought there may be difficulty in finding something to eat. From what people have said, a bear’s diet is fairly flexible, so it probably did not have much difficulty.

Dutchess_III's avatar

He’s in Missouri now. We seem to have lost contact with him at the moment.

Jonsblond's avatar

Apparently he’s been on an island in the Mississippi since yesterday afternoon and there are storms in the area. The current might be too strong for him to leave the other side of the island. Someone spotted him today on the edge and then he went back into the woods. He could just be taking a much needed break from traveling.

Jonsblond's avatar

It is confirmed he made it to the Missouri side of the island safely. From what I’ve read he crossed the river unnoticed. What a clever guy!

Here’s a map someone made of his journey. It was made two days ago so it doesn’t include his path across the river today.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is he headed to Arkansas?

Jonsblond's avatar

^No. Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri. He’s very close to bear country.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wonder how he figured out that was where he wanted to go? He’s been quite single minded about his direction.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thank you so much @Jonsblond !

Dutchess_III's avatar

“A walkin’ a walkin’ a walkin’ I say. Walkin’ a while boys heard a banjo play….”

Jonsblond's avatar

This is from an admin in the Facebook group Keeping Bruno Safe. July 5, 2020:

“Hi all, it’s been a rough night. As I’m scrolling through comments (1000s) trying to get together all the info and facts of what happened with Bruno, I see the angry and hurt comments. From me personally, I am sorry for how tonight went down. We all know it wasn’t just Missourians following or gathering wherever Bruno went. It happened in every state, including Iowa and Illinois. I know that if Bruno was going to need tranquilized and relocated this was the best possible place for him to be since MDC and the St Louis zoo have bear experience, I’ve also read comments that this area has some of the best large animal vets around, so tonight he was in good professional hands.
For the update, yes Bruno was tranquilized and moved, from what I’m reading, to the zoo? So he can be rehydrated and checked out. They will keep an eye on him for a couple days then release him into one of the national parks or forests that he was possibly en route to. This needed to be done for Bruno’s safety, and they didn’t make this decision lightly. He had gotten himself into an area where there were 10’ fences on 3 sides of him, the interstates in front of him and an industrial area and railroad tracks around and behind him. We all saw how fast he traveled today in this heat and he was already stressed from fireworks this weekend leading to some dehydration. So relating to Bruno’s safety this was the best possible outcome for him today.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

It floored me how many people were “crying” over the fact that conservationists stepped in. They seemed more upset that the community thread was ended rather than realizing the bear really didn’t have much of a chance unless we helped him.

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