GREENWICH, Conn. - The bear who was captured in a downtown Greenwich backyard on Wednesday was a young female, who traveled all the way from New Jersey, an unusual move for her sex, according to town officials and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
“Usually we would have expected this to be a young male, but sometimes females also travel longer distances” explained Denise Savageau, the town’s Conservation Director, in a written statement
The bear sighting was reported in the Chickahominy neighborhood in mid-morning to Greenwich Police. It had no contact with any people or domestic animals, police said. The bear was in a tree when DEEP officials tranquilized it about 2:30 p.m., said Capt. Mark Kordick. The bear was covered with a blanket and loaded into the back of a DEEP truck for removal.
DEEP officials said the bear captured in Greenwich weighed 155 pounds. She is estimated to be anywhere from one-and-a-half years to two-and-a-half years old. She was tagged, most likely as a cub, in New Jersey.
Black bears stay with their mother as cubs until they reach 18 months in the spring. At that time, the bear cubs are pushed off on their own and disperse. However, females typically stay within a 7 square mile range of home. Male black bears tend to move further away, up to 50 miles or more. As a female bear, originating in New Jersey, the distance she traveled is rare.
“We still have a lot to learn about wildlife and how they travel and disperse is something wildlife biologists are continuing to monitor,” Savageau said.
The Greenwich Conservation Commission reminds residents that black bear sightings are becoming more common in Greenwich. “We have had reports of black bear sightings in Greenwich for many years, and over the past 2-3 years, these sightings have seemed to increase,” Savageau said in her written statement. “Most of the reports have been from the back country but bears will wander anywhere in search of food. Black bear are part of the wildlife in Greenwich and we need to learn to live with them.”
Black bears are attracted to food sources so Greenwich residents are advised to follow a few simple steps to prevent human/bear conflicts:
Do remove bird feeders and bird food from accessible areas from late March through November.
Do store your garbage in secure containers. Dumpsters should also be bear secure. Adding ammonia to the garbage can will make it unpalatable.
Do store and clean grills after use.
Don’t intentionally feed bears (or any wildlife).
Don’t leave pet food outdoors overnight.
Don’t add meat or sweets to your compost pile.
If you do see a bear:
Do make your presence known by waving your arms if you see a bear while hiking.
Do walk away slowly if you surprise a bear nearby.
Don’t approach bear cubs as the mother may be nearby.
Do report any black bear sightings in Greenwich to both the CT DEEP and Greenwich Conservation Commission.
Greenwich Conservation Commission at 203-622-6461 or by email.