Bloody, severed bear paw found along bike trail baffles authorities

2012-11-24T00:01:00Z 2012-11-26T06:45:03Z Bloody, severed bear paw found along bike trail baffles authoritiesBy ALLISON PETTY - H&R Staff Writer
November 24, 2012 12:01 am  • 

DECATUR — A bloody, severed body part found off of the Stevens Creek Bike Trail on Thanksgiving morning turned out to belong to a bear, authorities said Friday.

Deputies from the Macon County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the situation after someone walking on the trail reported the discovery Thursday. Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Atkins said it was found off the trail near Center and Hunt streets.

Authorities had blocked off a portion of the bike trail through Friday, when it was determined that the body part had not belonged to a human. There was no sign of the rest of the bear.

Atkins said the mangled paw has been turned over to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in hopes of learning more about how it wound up along the bike path.

“There’s no reason to think anybody should have concerns about bears (in the area). We don’t have any reason for them to be worried about it,” Atkins said.

The paw appeared to have been outside for a while and had decayed so much that its species was not immediately recognizable, Atkins said.

Black bears have not lived in Illinois since the 1800s. They have five toes on each foot, each with a curved, 1.25-inch, nonretractable claw, according to the Department of Natural Resources.|421-6986

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