Belmont County officials want to inform the public that they may encounter a rare sight that, at first, could be startling.

It’s a black bear, and he’s been spotted in several communities

They say he’s particularly interested in dumpsters and trash cans.

Deputy Tom DeVaul, commander of the Belmont County Wild Animal Task Force, says it’s a part of nature, and nothing to be concerned about.

Deputy Tom DeVaul

“This is the time of year, you have a lot of young males that are traveling through the area. It’s nothing to be concerned about at all. The worst thing they could do is get into your trash, hit your grill. They will not attack you. They will not eat your pets. Just enjoy the moment. If you do see one and he is a nuisance, just yell, make some noise. And how I describe black bears is big giant raccoons.”

Deputy Tom DeVaul, Belmont County Wild Animal Task Force

He says you should not engage it in any way.

And he reminds everyone, it is illegal in the State of Ohio to harm a bear.

He suggests hanging bird feeders up high. He says black bears are also really interested in grease or leftover food on your grill.