This bear took a morning swim in Lake Wylie, swam from NC camp to SC bank

A bear taking a swim in Lake Wylie surprised boaters Saturday morning.

Johnny Burgess Jr. posted a picture of the bear on Facebook. He said he first saw the bear near the Red Fez Shrine Club at a campground on the North Carolina side of the lake, then he saw it taking a swim.

"At first when I saw it, I thought it was a big dog," Burgess said.

Burgess said he tried to follow the bear in his car, and saw it wade into the lake.

"I have never seen a bear in this area before, and I grew up here," he said.

He said the bear swam across the main channel to the River Hills neighborhood on the South Carolina bank before getting out of the water.

A bear took a swim in Lake Wylie Saturday morning. Johnny Burgess Jr.

"It was harmless," Burgess said. "As soon as it saw a person, it ran away."

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources public information director Kyndel McConchie said the department had received several reports on the bear.

She said DNR officials are asking people in the area to "stay out of it's way and let it swim — pretty much let it be."

McConchie said residents should stay out of the bear's path.

"It is a little unusual to see a bear swimming across that lake," she said.

But McConchie said it isn't unusual to see bear cubs in the area at this time of year.

Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068, @hgsmoot
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