Female Bear Traveled from New Jersey to Greenwich

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The bear that was captured in a backyard in Greenwich on Wednesday afternoon was a young female and had traveled from New Jersey, unusual for its age and sex.
The bear that was captured in a backyard in Greenwich on Wednesday afternoon was a young female and had traveled from New Jersey, unusual for its age and sex. Photo Credit: Anna Helhoski

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.

DEEP at 860-424-3333 or online

Greenwich Conservation Commission at 203-622-6461 or by email.

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Anna Helhoski, reporter for The Greenwich Daily Voice here. The bear was removed to a state forest area that has not been disclosed by officials. Thanks for all the feedback!

Yes, but what happened to the bear? Where is it now? The story did not really finish.

This is much more credible that the story of that cat coming from ND. If it was tagged in Jersey then it was tagged in Jersey. That bears are here comes as no surprise to people who spend time in our woods. Greenwich has plenty of open space for them. Like OT said, she could have walked across the ice or even swam if she wanted. They dont need bridges because they arent afraid to get their feet wet.

There is still a lot of ice on the hudson river toward the end of February, she may have walked across, not down near NY City, but a lot further upstream.

Did she take GW bridge or Tappan Zee bridge? Did they find her car anywhere? With NJ license plates? Hmmmm...

Same experts who said there was no Mountain Lion in the state?