There was a little added excitement at Apple Tree Daycare and Preschool Center in Shelton on Thursday morning: a black bear was nearby.
Shelton police responded to the area near the daycare center at 117 Long Hill Cross Road due to a bear sighting at about 8:30 a.m., and monitored the bear’s activity for awhile before it ran farther into the woods and out of sight.
Deborah Ullrich, Apple Tree owner, said she never actually saw the bear and was told by police it remained in a wooded area behind a fence, off the daycare center property.
“We were told to take precautions,” Ullrich said. “The kids were inside and we were advised to keep them inside.”
(Story continues below)
Click below to see photos of the bear in Shelton:
Shelton and state environmental conservation (EnCon) officers were in the vicinity for a few hours, she said. “They were here all morning to protect us,” she said.
The Shelton Police Department response ended at about 10:30 a.m., on Thursday, May 7.
Children were ‘excited’
Ullrich said the youngsters at the daycare center were thrilled to learn there was a bear in the area. “They were excited,” she said. “We read them a book about bears.”
Officers did an inspection of the Apple Tree property to offer guidance on steps that can be taken to be a less desirable place for bears. This might include looking at how trash is stored outdoors and if there are any birdfeeders.
(Story continues below)
Agency offers advice on what to do and not do when it comes to bears; click below:
“They looked at our property and said we weren’t doing anything to attract them,” Ullrich said. “So [the bear] has no reason to stick around.”
Ullrich lives not too far from the daycare center and said wildlife sightings are a part of life in the area. “They’re everywhere,” she said. “At our house we see coyote, fox, deer. We’re actually in their habitat.”
A bear has been spotted in Shelton on numerous occasions since April 30, and now appears to be most active along the Route 8 corridor from Long Hill Cross Road to Old Stratford Road. The most frequent sightings in recent days have been on Daybreak Lane, a dead-end road off Old Stratford Road.
How common are bears in Connecticut and in Shelton? Click below to find out:
How to report a bear sighting
Anyone who observes a bear can fill out an online form to be submitted to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; click below for the form: