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Bloody bear paw baffles central Ill. authorities

DECATUR (AP) – Authorities say a bloody severed body part found along a central Illinois bike trail belonged to a bear.

A walker found the mangled paw on Thanksgiving morning along the bike trail in Decatur. That triggered an investigation by the Macon County Sheriff's Office. Deputies closed part of the path Friday when it was determined the body part did not belong to a human.

The Decatur Herald & Review reports authorities have turned the paw over to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in hopes of discovering how it ended up along the bike path. There was no sign of the rest of the bear.

Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Atkins says there's no reason to worry about bears in the area.

Black bears have not lived in Illinois since the 1800s.

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