Bear sightings on rise in Shelton

This bear was spotted walking in a yard off Long Hill Avenue near Donovan Lane about 7 p.m. on July 7.

This bear was spotted walking in a yard off Long Hill Avenue near Donovan Lane about 7 p.m. on July 7.

Devan Kingston / Contributed photo

SHELTON — Residents are being warned to beware of bears.

Sightings have been on the rise the past couple months. Shelton Conservation and Trails, on its Facebook page, stated that aside from the White Hills area, which normally has sporadic sightings, there have been several sightings in the Nells Rock area, and most recently the Long Hill Avenue area.

Streets mentioned in sightings over the past month or two include Buddington Road, English Lane (off Buddington); Rocky Rest; Wesley Drive and the Rec Path; Constitution and Waterview; Walnut Tree Hill Road at Jones Farm; Longfellow; William and Wheeler; Rushbrooke Lane; Wesley Village (Long Hill Avenue); and the Asbury Ridge Rivendell Condos.

Residents can report sightings to police or to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011. Reports can also be made online.

“We have had literally dozens of reports,” said city Animal Control Supervisor Leon Sylvester about local bear sightings. “From what best we can tell, we believe there to be a minimum of four different bears, but no one is completely sure.”

Sylvester said city animal control does not handle bears, but “we do advise not approaching and removing bird feeders if any have been spotted in your area. Also report to DEEP.”

Shelton Conservation and Trails officials recommend residents remove all bird feeders, including empty ones, and secure garbage and pet food from bears.

Also, refrain from feeding any bears, who then learn to “hang around people for more food,” the site says. Trails officials stated that these are “typically young, impressionable bears who just got kicked out by mom, and are trying to figure out how to live. When they find food around people, the lesson sticks, and they just keep coming back for more.

“That can lead to bears breaking into homes, opening up the freezer and helping themselves. And on occasion, these 'problem bears' can become aggressive and pose a threat to people. All very easily prevented by just not feeding them in the first place. Help the bears by not feeding them,” the site states.