UPDATE: Bear was near daycare center in Shelton on Thursday
The bear that’s been observed in Shelton for the past week was in the vicinity of a daycare center on Long Hill Cross Road on Thursday morning.
Shelton police responded at about 8:30 a.m. on May 7 and observed the bear for awhile. The bear eventually ran farther into the woods and out of the sight of officers.
“We can confirm that we saw it there,” said Shelton Police Capt. Robert Kozlowsky. “We monitored it for awhile in the woods.”
Behavior was non-threatening
At no time was anyone inside the daycare center in any danger, and police emphasized the bear also did not make any threatening moves toward them as they monitored its actions.
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“At no point did it make any aggressive mannerisms toward us,” said Kozlowsky, who was at the scene and observed the bear.
The incident occurred near Apple Tree Daycare and Preschool Center at 117 Long Hill Cross Road. The bear was in the woods near the daycare center but behind a fence that separates a forested area from the daycare center property.
Close to the Route 8 highway
The daycare center is near Route 8, on the eastern side of the highway (toward the Housatonic River).
It is an area with many corporate offices and manufacturing facilities as well as some houses, and is in the same general vicinity as other bear sightings in Shelton since Monday.
Shelton police contacted the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), and DEEP personnel arrived after the bear had run away.
Shelton officers and DEEP representatives spoke to Apple Tree Daycare and Preschool Center representatives about precautions that should be taken due to the bear’s proximity to the facility.
The Shelton police response ended at about 10:30 a.m.
What happens next?
In general, DEEP policy is to allow bears to remain where they are unless their behavior begins to threaten people. They also are sometimes removed from areas with dense populations, such as cities.
Bears can become aggressive if they begin to associate food with humans, which happens when they start to regularly eat food from sources such as trash cans and birdfeeders.
The state’s bear population has been increasing in recent years, and bears have been moving farther south within Connecticut.
Kozlowsky said the Shelton Police Department is working closely with DEEP on the frequent bear sightings in this Fairfield County community in recent days.
“Obviously it’s a concern when it’s that close to a daycare center,” Kozlowsky said. “We’ll continue to work with them and explore our options.”
How to report a bear sighting
Anyone who observes a bear can fill out an online form to be submitted to the DEEP; click below for the form: