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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Two Black Bear Sightings in Westport

UPDATE Westport police today reported two separate sightings of a black bear on properties bordering the Merritt Parkway and issued a CodeRed telephone alert to residents.

WestportNow.com Image
Two years ago, this black bear was spotted in a driveway of a home on Westport’s Tupelo Road.. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jeff Gray for WestportNow.com

“In both instances, the bear was observed moving through the properties and did not act in an aggressive manner,” said Lt. Vincent Penna.

Police said a bear was sighted Wednesday on Oakwood Lane off of Newtown Turnpike and this morning on St. George Place near Merritt Exit 42. “It is not unusual for young bears to travel through Westport each spring,” police said.

As Westport police were issuing their bear alert, a bear was spotted in a tree and then surrounded by police in a backyard on Fairfield’s Denise Terrace not far from Black Rock Turnpike. The bear was subsequently tranquilized and removed.

Today, just as two years ago, police issued a CodeRed telephone warning to residents about the sightings. In 2013, a black bear was spotted wandering in the Coleytown area. (See WestportNow June 2, 2013)

Penna said all sightings should be reported both to police—(203) 341-6000—and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)—(860) 675-8130.

Police cited these tips about black bear sightings obtained from the DEEP:

If you see a bear:

Enjoy it from a distance.

Advertise your presence by shouting and waving your arms or walk slowly away.

Never attempt to feed or attract bears.

Report bear sightings to the Wildlife Division, at (860) 675-8130.

Experience has shown that a single wandering bear can be responsible for numerous sightings reported to the Wildlife Division. Experience has also shown that, given an avenue for escape, bears will usually wander back into more secluded areas.

People should not feed bears, either intentionally or unintentionally. Bears that associate food with people become problem bears that will not be tolerated by all property owners. Connecticut has the habitat to support more bears; however, the future of Connecticut’s bear population depends on the actions and attitudes of the human population.

The probability of a bear attacking a human is exceptionally low. Therefore, the mere presence of a bear does not necessitate its removal.

However, the department may attempt to remove bears from urban locations when there is little likelihood that they will leave on their own and when they are in positions where darting is feasible.

The department attempts to monitor bear activity in developed areas in coordination with local public safety officials.

Coordination and cooperation with officials on the scene and local police officials is a key, critical ingredient in educating the public and assuring a safe, desirable outcome in such a situation.

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Posted 06/25/15 at 04:06 PM  Permalink



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