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Unexpected visitor! A bear spotted at the Shawano County Library

Posted at 5:44 PM, Jun 11, 2024

SHAWANO (NBC 26) — The Shawano County Library had an unexpected visitor stop by on Monday.

  • The Shawano Police Department shares photos of the Black Bear spotted around the city Monday
  • Two library employees express their excitement and apprehension to see a wild animal pass by the door to their place of work
  • Shawano Police say if you see a bear just passing through, call the department's non-emergency number at (715) 524-4545 instead of 9-1-1

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story with additional details for web.)

Many people pass through this library every day. But, none as wild as the visitor that stopped by on Monday. I'm Pari Apostolakos in Shawano, where the police department started getting calls about an unexpected reader.

Shawano Police Lt. Mike Musolff says calls about bear sightings started coming in Monday morning.

"The bear was all over the city of Shawano," he said. "Pretty much made a circle of the whole city."

He says police followed it for hours trying to lead it out of Shawano.

It was here near the Shawano County Library where Musolff had his close encounter.

"It just came through back over there by that building there, and then came right through up to the library and rather neatly walked right by me and walked up to the door, saw its shadow (I'm assuming it thought it was another bear.) and then turned around and walked away," Musolff said Tuesday afternoon.

"I said 'Bear!'" Shawano County Library Assistant Helen Rowinski said when asked about her reaction to seeing the animal walk by.

Rowinski and fellow library assistant Tabitha Pierce were working at the library and saw the bear through the door when it wandered past the book drop.

"I know they're in the area, I'd just prefer that they don't be in town," Rowinski said.

"I had never seen a bear up close before, except for in a zoo, and I just, it was very exciting," Pierce said.

Back in April, I reported on a Black Bear sighting in a Howard neighborhood.

"The Wisconsin bear population is healthy and maybe even expanding," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Steven Burns said.

When reporting on that story, Burns told me bears don't normally want to get near humans and loud noises can scare them off.

He also said never to approach one.

"I don't think anybody needs to be alarmed though, because this is natural bear behavior, is to wander through and look for food," Musolff said.

Shawano police say if you see a bear just passing through, call the department's non-emergency number at (715) 524-4545 instead of 9-1-1.