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Black Bear 'Going Slowly' Tuesday Morning



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Black Bear ‘Going Slowly’ Tuesday Morning

By Kendra Bobowick

Quick with his cellphone’s digital camera, resident John Favicchia captured a black bear walking unhurriedly along Valley Field Road Tuesday morning shortly after 11.

“I was just driving home and there he was,” he said. “He was going slowly, and panting, he looked hot.” He guessed that the bear might have continued to move along the road until Mr Favicchia’s truck approached. “He went off the road and into the woods,” he said. Mr Favicchia was close enough to take clear photos as the bear crossed a driveway of one residence and approached the tree line. If the animal was hot as Mr Favicchia thought, he said, “There are several ponds in the area.” He did not notice if the black bear had any tags indicating that the Department of Environmental Protection was tracking its travels.

Seeing the bear reminded him of something he had said weeks ago. “I told my wife that I thought a bear was in the yard.” A bird feeder had been torn from the screws used to support it. Indicating that they were heavy screws, he said, “It had been torn out.” Had someone played a prank on his family, he wondered? He suspected a large animal had done it.

He later found the bird feeder in the woods.

Animal control staff members were aware of the bear sighting Tuesday. Assistant Animal Control Office Matt Schaub had also received a call Tuesday from the Walnut Tree Hill Road area. After checking that area he did not see the bear, but offered advice: do not approach bears, don’t leave food, trash, or cooking grills outdoors where bears can get to them. Mr Schaub notified the DEP.

The state Department of Environmental Protection offers a web page, Black Bear Dos and Don’ts, which opens, “In recent years, a resident population has become established in Connecticut, primarily in the northwestern region. Bears have also wandered into heavily populated residential areas. Connecticut residents need to learn more about bears and how to reduce the likelihood of bears becoming a problem. Birdfeeders are first on the list: Do make birdfeeders and bird food inaccessible by discontinuing the feeding of birds from late March through November or by hanging feeders at least ten feet above the ground and six feet away from tree trunks.”

Do place trash cans inside a garage or shed, add ammonia to trash, clean and store grills after use. Do not feed bears, leave pet food out overnight, or add meat or sweets to compost.

Hiking or camping? Make your presence known; make noise or wave your arms. Keep pets leashed. A roaming dog may be perceived by the bear as a threat. If you surprise a nearby bear, walk away slowly. Do not cook near or store food inside your tent. Keep food in the car. Do not climb a tree, but wait in a vehicle or building until the bear leaves.

The DEP website offers advice to protect livestock. Move animals into a barn at night, and reinforce beehives to prevent damage. Protect both with electric fencing.

To report a bear sighting, visit www.depdata.ct.gov/wildlife/sighting/bearrpt.htm. The web page also offers help for emergencies. The first paragraph states, “If you need immediate assistance concerning a black bear, you should call the DEP’s 24-hour hotline at 860-424-3333.” Residents also can contact the Newtown animal control office at 426-6900.

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