[UPDATE] Bear-ly Noticed

Alert — and concerned — “06880” reader Kate Greenberg saw a bear (black or dark brown, she thinks) behind her house yesterday, around 3 p.m.

She lives off the Merritt Parkway (eastbound). The bear was walking in the woods, between her house and the Merritt. She called the police.

She wonders: Has anyone else reported a bear in the area?

It’s been a tough year for Kate. Coyotes killed her dog in the yard last November, just after dusk.

This is not the Westport bear. But it's close.

This bear is from Alaska. Kate Greenberg didn’t get a shot of the Westport bear.

In mid-afternoon, the Westport Police sent this notice:

Westport Police received two separate reports from residents whose properties border the Merritt Parkway of two separate sightings of black bears. In both instances the bear was observed moving through the properties and did not act in an aggressive manner. The following information regarding the handling of bears near your home was obtained from the CT DEEP website. All sightings should be reported to the Police Department and CT DEEP at the numbers below:

If you see a bear:

  • Enjoy it from a distance.
  • Advertise your presence by shouting and waving your arms or walk slowly away.
  • Never attempt to feed or attract bears.
  • Report bear sightings to the Wildlife Division, at (860) 675-8130.

Experience has shown that a single wandering bear can be responsible for numerous sightings reported to the Wildlife Division. Experience has also shown that, given an avenue for escape, bears will usually wander back into more secluded areas.

People should not feed bears, either intentionally or unintentionally. Bears that associate food with people become problem bears that will not be tolerated by all property owners. Connecticut has the habitat to support more bears; however, the future of Connecticut’s bear population depends on the actions and attitudes of the human population.

The probability of a bear attacking a human is exceptionally low. Therefore, the mere presence of a bear does not necessitate its removal. However, the department may attempt to remove bears from urban locations when there is little likelihood that they will leave on their own and when they are in positions where darting is feasible.

The department attempts to monitor bear activity in developed areas in coordination with local public safety officials. Coordination and cooperation with officials on the scene and local police officials is a key, critical ingredient in educating the public and assuring a safe, desirable outcome in such a situation.

24 responses to “[UPDATE] Bear-ly Noticed

  1. Emily Adams

    Fairfield residents just received a code red alert that a bear was seen near Fairfield U and in Greenfield Hill early this morning.

  2. kate greenberg

    I wonder if it is the same one, the bear I saw was heading east along the Merritt around exit 41…. no code red alert in Westport yesterday….

  3. A juvenile black bear walked across Cross Brook Lane (coincidentally, a stone’s throw from the now defunct Three Bears restaurant) at 1:30 yesterday afternoon. It passed about 30 feet away from where my son was standing at the time and ambled off toward the Merritt. A neighbor confirmed that her garbage cans (which she leaves outside) had been raided recently.

  4. Susan Schmitt

    Yesterday several sitings of a bear in Wilton, once on Range Rd and once crossing rt 7 by Orem’s Diner. Another person said they saw a bear with her cub near The Red Barn in Westport.

  5. kate greenberg

    that must be the one I saw, we live off of Newtown Tpke right near the 3 Bears Rest. and It looked like a young adult to me…. did not see a cub though…

  6. Gary Singer

    Down here in SW Florida, we usually only get excited about a proliferation of Alligators, But due to the overpopulation of Bears, the prohibition on bear hunting has been lifted for a month, starting today. No one ( except hunters who fly confederate flags) want to kill bear, but they are becoming a major problem, fearlessly walking into yards and public playgrounds and school grounds. No one had a better solution.

  7. Marilyn millet

    Two sightings in Fairfield this morning, one in Greenfield Hill and one near Fairfield University

  8. Bonnie Scott Connolly

    I have a fiend who just moved from Westport to Newtown and they saw a bear last week at the new house.

  9. Animal control doesn’t do anything about coyotes..why would they do anything about a bear??

  10. Virginia Tienken

    Code red alert this afternoon in Westport. Somewhere near Newtown Tpke

  11. Lynnley Browning

    My 14-year-old son and his friend just burst through the door wild-eyed with a report that a bear had been tranquilized in Fairfield somewhere around, I believe, Youngstown Avenue, off the Black Rock Turnpike. They saw the whole thing and have pictures!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  12. Stephanie Bass

    Dan,
    can you get a bear expert to tell us what is the best thing to do when we site a bear near us — run/ stand still/ slowly back up/ ???

    • According to the police, stay where you are. You might make a bit of noise to get them to move (from a safe distance). When they’re gone, make sure to remove all food and garbage.

    • We see bears here (too) often, yet it is always an unnerving surprise.
      Just remember that they are more frightened of you, that they are only interested in garbage, rivers, berries… so just back away slowly (don’t run) and quietly (don’t yell or scream).
      With cougars, though, you’re supposed to back away slowly, arms high to look big, and make a lot of noise.

      • p.s. If there is a bear in your garage or carport feasting on your garbage,
        then bang pots and pans together… he’ll be so scared that he’ll vamoose (or hide in one of your trees for a while to recuperate). They really are scaredy cats!

    • Jamie Walsh

      Never run from a bear or you will be perceived as breakfast, lunch or dinner! Lift your hands over your head, to make yourself appear larger and start to make noise…banging a pot or metal object to make as much noise if it is within reach. If you are walking in the woods do not be silent. Many who walk in actual bear country will wear “bear bells” to continually make noise. Bears do not like Han contact so if they hear you they will generally take flight. If you surprise a bear…make yourself big, make noise, and back up slowly never turning your back as the bear will then consider you prey. Also, never “lock eye contact” as this is perceived as a direct threat and the bear may charge. If the bear charges… Stand your ground….if a bear tackle you make sure your face is down to on the ground, interlace your hands behind your neck toprotect it and play dead. black bears are usually a lot less aggressive then brown bears.

  13. John hooper

    Dan, we live Just of hillside on greenfield hill in Fairfield. Our house guest and my son saw a juvenile in our backyard this morning.

  14. Apparently a bear was tranquilized in Fairfield a couple of hours ago.

  15. Sharon Paulsen

    I heard there were several coyote attacks on family pets up here in Trumbull recently.

    I live close to the Easton and Fairfield (Greenfield Hill area, Black Rock Turnpike) borders, and now I’m gonna keep a lookout for bears. Yikes! Luckily my kitty cat is older and is now a full time indoor dweller.

  16. Hedi Lieberman

    I saw two brown bears this winter on my property and my friend saw the black bear yesterday on Ford Road…..

  17. Chris Deming

    In the northern part of the state, bears visit regularly and have for almost 20 years. They are very willing to move on if they don’t find food. Do make noise. Do move away slowly with your arms high (to appear larger). Bears in Conn. are American BLACK bears, although at this time of year they are shedding their brownish, wooly winter undercoat. This may be a yearling male that has recently been forced into independence by his mother … he’s alone for the first time, hungry, confused and scared. Leave him be … he’ll find his way back to the woods.

  18. Chris Grimm

    Leave out a pot of honey or a pic-a-nick basket.