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With Rescue In Progress, DEEP Says Stay Away From Bear Cubs



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The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Deputy Director Mason Trumble is asking the public to stay out of the vicinity of two orphaned bear cubs so they can hopefully be caught in traps baited with food.

"The bear cubs are currently up in a tree and our wildlife biologists believe the best course of action is to set a trap," said Trumble. "We ask that folks stay out of this area to give the cubs space in order for the trap to work."

Trumble said that the DEEP would keep the public updated.

DEEP Wildlife Division Director Jenny Dickson said that two orphaned bear cubs will be taken in to rehabilitation because of concerns of how much public attention they've drawn during an earlier press conference May 16 in Newtown.

Dickson said while the DEEP's "first priority is to let wild animals remain wild," the attention drawn to the bear cubs, who are four and a half to five months old, have put them in a "difficult situation" because the cubs could become habituated to humans, or food left out for them could attract other predators that could put the cubs in danger.

The cubs were currently high in a tree, which is "what they learn to do to evade predators," and Dickson said that the cubs are "doing all the things young bears do."

Prior to Trumble's update, the wildlife biologists had been waiting for the cubs to come lower in the tree so they could safely be tranquilized, before deciding to move on to the traps. "Plan A," according to Dickson, was to tranquilize the cubs; "Plan B" is to attempt to trap them.

"We want to make sure there is a good outcome," said Dickson. "We need to make sure all the pieces of the puzzle are in place, and do all we can for a successful outcome at the end of the day."

The two bears cubs were orphaned after their mother, Bobbi the Bear, was shot by a resident on Scudder Road on May 12. The Ridgefield Police Department has issued a statement confirming that the resident was an off duty Ridgefield police officer.

DEEP Senior Advisor on Outreach and Engagement James Fowler said that the shooting was still under investigation, and until the investigation was complete, it is unknown what, if any, charges may be filed. Dickson confirmed that the shooting involved free range chickens owned by the resident.

Following the press conference, Laura Simon, president of the Connecticut Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, told The Newtown Bee that their representatives and a number of residents located the bear cubs on May 15 and attempted to get the DEEP to come out and capture the cubs. However, it was "five hours until they showed up," which caused them to "lose the opportunity" to safety tranquilize the cubs.

Simon said that the cubs are too young to be on their own and "need their mother's milk and protection." She was "thrilled" that the DEEP was now onboard with rehabilitating the cubs and was "anxious to hear" where the cubs are sent following their capture.

Rep Allie-Brennan Involved

Raghib Allie-Brennan was among those assembled at the cubs' location on Sunday, May 15 and expressed frustration that at the time the organization was still unwilling to capture them.

He said that the cubs climbed up a tree and "looked dehydrated and exhausted" and were "waiting for their mother."

He was happy to hear that pressure he and other state representatives had been putting on DEEP had changed their position and that he would "make sure to hold them to it."

Allie-Brennan said there had been an "outpouring of goodwill from residents here and across the state." He also expressed concern about the resident who shot Bobbi.

"It's seriously offensive that there has been no comment from DEEP or Ridgefield about this," said Allie-Brennan. "I want to make sure that it's taken seriously because it is serious."

Associate Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at jim@thebee.com.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Wildlife Division Director Jenny Dickson (left) and Senior Advisor on Outreach and Engagement James Fowler at a press conference about two orphaned bear cubs on May 16. —Bee Photo, Taylor
A photo of Bobbi the bear. —Photo courtesy of the Bobbi the Bear #217 Facebook page.
Bobbi's bear cubs in a tree. —Photo courtesy of the Save Bobbi's Cubs Facebook page.
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