Tuesday September 26, 2017

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50 Church Street, Windsor Locks, CT 06096

FIRST SELECTMEN ISSUES STATEMENT REGARDING INCREASED BLACK BEAR SIGHTINGS

There has been a significant increase in black bear sightings in Windsor Locks over the last several days.  This is not surprising as the bear population is increasing in Connecticut as the percentage of the state covered by forest land continues to grow.  Many of our neighborhoods border natural bear habitat and the bears are attracted into neighborhoods by easy access to food sources including birdfeeders, pet food, garbage, compost piles and dirty barbecue grills. 

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection recommends that if you see a black bear in your yard, enjoy the sighting from a distance.  Be sure that you are not doing anything to attract the bear to your yard. You may attempt to scare the bear off by making noise, such as banging pots and pans or shouting. Once the bear has left the area, take a close look at your yard for potential bear food sources and remove those food sources immediately. Bears have incredible long-term memory and will revisit places where they have found food, even months or years later. Bears that are frequently fed, either intentionally or unintentionally through birdfeeders or garbage, may become habituated and lose their fear of people. If a bear behaves in a way that is a threat to public safety, it may have to be euthanized by the department.

If you live in an area with frequent bear sightings it is best to avoid birdfeeders altogether but if you do use bird feeders please restrict their use to December through March when bears tend to be in their dens but be prepared to remove them at the first sign of bear activity.

Although black bears have injured and even killed humans in North America, such cases are exceptionally rare.  When visiting areas where bears are more common, walking or running in groups is recommended and it is also advised to make your presence known by talking or singing.

DEEP makes the following recommendations in the event you encounter a bear:

“Remain calm and observe the bear from a distance. Do not approach or try to get closer to a bear. If the bear is unaware of your presence, back away or make noise which will often cause the bear to flee. If the bear is aware of you and does not flee, talk to the bear in a calm voice and back away slowly. Never run or climb a tree. If the bear approaches, be offensive. Make more noise, wave your arms, and throw objects at the bear. Black bears rarely attack humans. However, if you are attacked, do not play dead. Fight back with anything available.”

You may also report bear sightings to DEEP using this link: http://www.depdata.ct.gov/wildlife/sighting/bearrpt.htm

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