TUESDAY 10 P.M. BEAR UPDATE (click below):
No bear sightings have been reported in Shelton since last Thursday, when a black bear was spotted in a number of locations from early morning through the evening.
That means it has now been five days since the bear was seen here, making it more likely that the bear is no longer in Shelton.
“Who knows if he’s held up or if he’s far away by now?” Teresa Gallagher, the city’s conservation agent, said when asked about the bear’s possible whereabouts early this week.
Gallagher noted the bear appeared to be heading in a specific direction — which, based on sighting locations, was southeast. “He was almost going in a straight line,” she said.
Bears can travel long distances in short periods of time.
This bear is most likely a male slightly more than one year old, beginning to move out on its own.
Bear sighting timeline
In general terms last Thursday, April 30, the reported sightings in Shelton were:
— 5:30 a.m. on Brownson Drive (off Soundview Avenue, not too far from the Huntington Green).
— 7 a.m. on Wesley Drive (road is near Buddington Road, close to Huntington Street). Photo was taken of the bear near a house on Wesley Drive.
— 8 a.m. on Mill Street, near Bridgeport Avenue. Police responded but couldn’t find the bear.
— 4:30 p.m. on Long Hill Cross Road, near Bridgeport Avenue. Bear was observed in the fields and wooded areas by Shelton and state EnCon police for an extended period.
— 8 p.m. on Old Stratford Road, near the Center at Split Rock retail complex (Outback Steakhouse vicinity). Police responded but couldn’t find the bear.
Monitored by officers
According to Police Det. Christopher Nugent, officers who observed the bear near Long Hill Cross Road in the early evening said the bear appeared to be about 200 pounds.
The bear was observed in fields and wooded areas on both sides of Long Hill Cross Road, close to Bridgeport Avenue, for more than an hour. “He then went in an unknown direction,” Nugent said of the bear.
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Click below to see a photo taken of the bear on Wesley Drive in Shelton on April 30:
Officers observed the bear to make sure it didn’t get too close to areas where it could threaten people.
At about 8 p.m., police received reports the bear had crossed Old Stratford Road and went up a hill near the Center at Split Rock, putting it close to Route 8. “The area was checked but the bear was not found,” Nugent said.
Crossing Bridgeport Avenue
Gallagher said she’s heard the bear had trouble crossing Bridgeport Avenue, near Mill Street and Long Hill Cross Road. She said it appears the bear “was trying to figure out how to get across” such a well-traveled road.
Bridgeport Avenue is a busy thoroughfare, especially on weekdays when nearby office buildings are filled with employees.
But despite all the commercial and retail buildings in the vicinity, there also are many fields and wooded areas there as well.
May become more common
Gallagher said bears are likely to become more common in the future in this part of Connecticut. “People need to respect them and to live with them,” she said.
This means not putting out birdfeeders and not placing household garbage in non-secured, outdoor locations.
Problems usually only arise when bears begin to associate food with humans, and therefore start going near homes to try to find food.
Gallagher said bears have been seen in Shelton in the past, including in 2012 in the city’s White Hills section.