DEEP shoots and kills bear in Hartford

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Wednesday shot and killed a black bear in Keney Park in Hartford that had demonstrated aggressive behavior toward humans earlier in the summer elsewhere in the state.

The bear had previously been tagged and was identified by those tags as one that had recently displayed aggressive behavior toward humans in Barkhamsted, including chasing one person into his cellar.

“Once it became known to us that the bear that had been seen in Keney Park was the same one that had been charging humans in Barkhamsted, the decision was made to euthanize the bear,” DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen said. “Once bears become aggressive like this they can no longer be safely relocated.

“The DEEP is again emphasizing to everyone that feeding bears, either intentionally or unintentionally is not in the bear’s best interest. It will become habituated and lose its fear of people and will eventually have to be dispatched.”

The bear, an 18-20 month old male weighing approximately 150 pounds and tagged as “B-2,” was originally spotted in the Keney Park area of Hartford yesterday. When it was spotted today and identified as B-2, DEEP Environmental Conservation Police acted to dispatch the bear. The bear was shot and killed when it moved into heavy brush in a remote area of the park.

The bear population in Connecticut continues to grow and expand. The population is currently estimated at approximately 500 bears, increasing the need for people to know how to prevent problems. In 2011, the DEEP received nearly 3,000 bear sighting reports from 122 of Connecticut’s 169 towns.

The DEEP encourages residents to take the following simple steps to avoid problems with black bears:

• Never feed bears.

• Take down, clean, and put away birdfeeders by late March. Store the feeders until late fall. Clean up spilled seed from the ground.

• Store garbage in secure, airtight containers inside a garage or storage area. Double bagging and adding ammonia to cans and bags will reduce odors that attract bears. •Periodically clean garbage cans with ammonia to reduce residual odor. Garbage for pickup should be put outside the morning of collection and not the night before.

• Avoid leaving pet food outdoors at night.

• Keep barbecue grills clean. Store grills inside a garage or shed.

• Avoid placing meat scraps or sweet foods in compost piles.

• Protect beehives, livestock, and berry bushes from bears with electric fencing.

• Supervise dogs at all times when outside. Keep dogs on a leash when walking and hiking. A roaming dog might be perceived as a threat to a bear or its cubs.

It is important to remember that although black bears regularly travel near houses, they are rarely aggressive toward humans and can usually be frightened away by making loud noises, throwing sticks, or spraying with a garden hose. In the rare instance when a bear appears to be aggressive toward people, residents should contact the DEEP Wildlife Division’s Sessions Woods office at 860-675-8130 (Mon.-Fri. from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or the DEEP’s 24-hour dispatch line (860-424-3333) during weekends and non-business hours.

Bear sightings reported by the public provide valuable information to assist the DEEP Wildlife Division in monitoring the black bear population. Anyone who observes a black bear in Connecticut is encouraged to report the sighting on the DEEP’s Web site or call the Wildlife Division’s Sessions Woods office.