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Greenwich Black Bear Came From New Jersey

Female bear captured near central Greenwich this week weighed 155 pounds.

Conservation officials say that the black bear that roamed through the Chickahominy section of Greenwich on Wednesday apparently came from New Jersey.

Based upon a tag found on the 155-pound female black bear, officials say the young bear was between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 years old, and probably tagged as a cub somewhere in New Jersey.

“Usually we would have expected this to be a young male, but sometimes females also travel longer distances” said Greenwich Conservation Director Denise Savageau in a prepared statement.  “We still have a lot to learn about wildlife and how they travel and disperse is something wildlife biologists are continuing to monitor.”

The bear was first reported seen near Booth Terrace and Hamilton Avenue shortly after 6 a.m. June 6. Then about three hours later the bear was spotted several blocks away in the backyard of 151 Hamilton Ave. It was there that Greenwich Police corralled the bruin and waited for Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officers and a tranquilizer team to arrive. By 2:30 p.m. the bear had been tranquilized and ended up in an adjacent yard behind 56 Spring St. where police and environmental officials loaded it into a pickup truck.

A DEEP spokesman said the bear was to be released in a state park in northwest or northeast Connecticut, "away from people. ... If it's old enough to be on its own, as apparently this bear is, then we are not concerned about its survival."

Black bear sightings are becoming more common in Greenwich, Savageau said.

“We have had reports of black bear sightings in Greenwich for many years, and over the past 2-3 years, these sightings have seemed to increase,”  Savageau added.  “Most of the reports have been from the back country but bears will wander anywhere in search of food.  Black bear are part of the wildlife in Greenwich and we need to learn to live with them.” 

Two weeks ago, town conservation officials confirmed that

Black bears stay with their mother as cubs and until they are yearlings at about 18 months of age in the spring when they are pushed off on their own and disperse. Usually females stay within a 7 square mile home range but males often disperse large distances, commonly 50 miles and occasionally much further.

Black bears are attracted to food sources, so residents are advised to follow a few simple steps to prevent human/bear conflicts. 

  • Do remove bird feeders and bird food from accessible areas from late March through November
  • Do store your garbage in secure containers.  Dumpsters should also be bear secure.  Adding ammonia to the garbage can will make it unpalatable
  • Do store and clean grills after use
  • Don’t intentionally feed bears (or any wildlife)
  • Don’t leave pet food outdoors overnight.
  • Don’t add meat or sweets to your compost pile

If you do see a bear.

  • Do make your presence known by waving your arms if you see a bear while hiking
  • Do walk away slowly if you surprise a bear nearby
  • Don’t approach bear cubs as the mother maybe nearby
  • Do report any black bear sightings in Greenwich to both the CT DEEP  and Greenwich Conservation Commission
  • The DEEP can be reached at (860) 675-8130  or online at http://www.deepdata.ct.gov/wildlife/sighting/bearrpt.htm
  • The Greenwich Conservation Commission can be reached at 203-622-6461 or denise.savageau@greenwichct.org
  • For Emergency Response only contact 911.
  • For Immediate Assistance with black bears, call the DEEP 24-hour hotline at 860-424-3333.

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