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      Black bear reported along Rio Grande near Falcon Dam

      This black bear was spotted near Falcon Dam // Starr County Photo

      Wildlife experts are investigating a black bear sighting along the banks of the Rio Grande just south of Falcon Dam.

      It all happened in a brushy area along the river on Monday morning.

      Starr County employees were working in the area when they spotted the animal.

      One of the employees snapped a photo and forwarded it.

      Threatened Species

      Although black bears were once found throughout North America, it TMs been decades since a confirmed sighting in the Rio Grande Valley.

      Wildlife experts are not sure if the bear wandered from Mexico or another area remote area of South Texas.

      But Texas Department & Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials report that the ongoing drought is causing bears to roam longer distances.

      The black bear is listed as a threatened species by the State of Texas.

      It TMs against the law to kill a black bear in Texas with fines up to $10,000 dollars.

      What To Do

      Although bears are normally shy and not aggressive towards people, TPWD officials urge those who see a bear to talk calmly while backing away slowly.

      Experts say do not make eye contact and do not run away.

      If a bear approaches, TPWD officials said people should stand their ground and raise your arms, backpack or jacket to appear larger, and yell at the bear to scare it off.

      TPWD officials are asking South Texas residents to report bear sightings to their Pleasanton office at (830) 569-8700.

      If it TMs an emergency, call the local sheriff TMs office or 911.