Meridian, Mississippi MSU-Meridian officials had the welcome mat out for all new and returning students, but little did they know that a black bear would arrive on campus just about 7:00 a.m. Some MSU students didn't know whether to laugh or run when they heard the news, "My professor was joking about it," said student Tyler Andrew Vick. "He was making an Ole Miss joke. I thought he was just being his crazy self, but a bear in the back, lot, it's a little scary! I don't know if i want to go back there again."
The bear has apparently been visiting other residents and businesses in the area. Residents of a nearby apartment complex took pictures of the bear wandering through, and there were reports that he showed up for breakfast at a local donut shop.
"Always be alert, you never know what's in your surroundings," says Interim MSU-Meridian Police Chief Gary Knox. "Bears come close to a residential area when they get a smell of some food or whatever. Unfortunately, people leave food out, trash cans open. They'll be attracted to it, like any other animal."
"We don't feel a need, according to the game warden, for anyone to be frightened out on campus, " said Knox. "They are going to take the appropriate measures, should he show back up."
Newscenter 11 talked with a local wildlife commissioner who says if you see a black bear in a residential neighborhood, don't approach him, he most likely will continue on his way unless there is food available. There is a number you can call to report your bear sighting, It's 1-800-BE SMART" or (800) 237-6278.