Bear B-1, both feared and beloved in Madison, the town where she made her home in recent months, was trapped in North Madison, tranquilized and then euthanized Sunday evening. She was believed to have been seen in Clinton, as well.
She was trapped in a tube trap in a neighborhood off of Durham Road in North Madison, on Sunday. The Madison animal control officer was alerted, and then she let the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) know the bear had been trapped, said Dwayne Gardner, a spokesman for the CT DEEP.
Gardner said B-1 was killed because she was considered by wildlife experts familiar with the behavior of Connecticut black bears, as a "problem bear." While the DEEP has received many reports about the bear, a recent video that showed her charging a homeowner in his backyard contributed to the decision that the bear was dangerous, Gardner said.
Unconfirmed reports that someone might have been feeding bear
Gardner also said the DEEP has heard reports that someone might have been deliberately feeding the bear. He said he did not know why someone might have been feeding the bear. But he said the reports, if true, mean that someone's misguided efforts to help the bear may have contributed to her demise.
"We don't know for sure," he said. "We heard reports. They were unconfirmed. I have no idea why someone would have been feeding it. We heard it was someone in Madison."
Gardner said that kind of behavior, feeding wild animals, is totally discouraged by wildlife experts.
"It's the worst thing you can do"
"Absolutely discouraged," he said. "It's the worst thing you can do. If you love bears, if you love wildlife, the worst thing you can do is feed them. It only will end up costing them in the end."
Gardner said just one trap was set last week and that it ultimately proved successful in luring the bear, and trapping her. After DEEP was notified by the town's animal control officer that the bear had been trapped, DEEP went to the scene and tranquilized the bear by shooting her.
B-1 was then taken to the DEEP's wildlife management area in Burlington and shot and killed. "We euthanize it there," Gardner said.
Bear B-1's behavior was unusual from the start
Gardner said a necropsy would be done on the bear to determine its weight, other characteristics, and that state of her health when she was killed. Gardner said the bear was a female bear, about a year and a half years old.
State wildlife experts had said that one option for Bear B-1 included subjecting her to "averse conditioning" and then re-releasing her within a 10-mile radius of where she was caught. However, this was a bear that was already unusual for a female bear in the wide range of territory she covered.
She was originally tagged near Windsor and recently was seen in Guilford, Clinton, Killingworth, and Madison.
"They're not going to want one of our problem bears"
So, Gardner said, if she was released within a 10-mile radius she likely would have made her way back to the territory where she was making her home.
As to why she wasn't captured and released further away, Gardner said "we try to keep them close to the habitat they are used to."
"Plus, other states have enough bears of their own," he said. "They're not going to want one of our problem bears."
Multiple homeowners report abnormal behavior from Bear B-1
In addition to the report from the homeowner on County Road, and another homeowner on Genesee Lane reported that it appeared she bluff charged him when he was trying to remove a bird feeder from his yard.
A North Madison homeowner reported to the town that Bear B-1 stood on her hind legs and growled when the homeowner was trying to take out the garbage.
A homeowner on Durham Road in North Madison reported in the comment section of a story on Bear B-1 that, "B1 ran down the hill at me husband after he attempted to scare her away by blowing the car horn. After she chased him into the car, she walked right up to our house. It was obvious then and earlier when she and I noticed each other outside, that she had no fear of us. I'm not typically an alarmist, but I have three young children and I am not comfortable with that bear's behavior."
"I noticed she was almost completely unafraid of humans"
A homeowner on Suffolk Drive, off of County Road in North Madison reported that the bear appeared to observe a party at her pool, from behind a fence, then came back after everyone left and went for a swim in the pool, tried out the hammock, and chewed on some swim floaties.
The bear later visited the yard again, when the homeowner was in the yard with her children.
The bear was so quiet she did not know the bear was there until her children alerted her to that.
B-1 only bear to be euthanized this year
Bear B-1's behavior was unusual, and deemed dangerous by state wildlife experts.
Gardner says, in general only about one or two bears a year, of the hundreds of bears in Connecticut, are considered dangerous enough to be trapped and relocated and/or euthanized.
He said B-1 is the only bear that has been euthanized by the DEEP this year.
This is the press release issued by CT DEEP:
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection today trapped and euthanized a black bear in Madison that had been demonstrating aggressive behavior toward humans.
The most recent incident occurred on August 28 when the bear charged at a homeowner who was watching and filming the bear through an open window in his home.
This bear had been seen frequently in the Madison area over the last few weeks and had been the source of numerous complaints received by local animal control officials and the DEEP leading up to the incident on August 28.
DEEP had also received unconfirmed reports that at least one resident had been intentionally feeding the bear.
When a bear is intentionally or unintentionally fed, it begins to associate food with people and loses its fear of humans.
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 bird feeders 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 AM-4:30 PM) 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.