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New Canaan Daily Voice serves New Canaan, CT

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New Canaan May See More Bears As Species Rebounds

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Residents of New Canaan should not be too surprised if they happen to see more black bears around town.

Paul Rego, a wildlife biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said the black bear population in the state has grown over the past 30 years. New Canaanites surely took notice Tuesday afternoon when a small black bear, weighing about 250 pounds, was spotted in the area of Smith Ridge and Country Club roads.

With more of the animals around, Rego said, they are expanding from their usual hot spots in the northwestern portion of the state in Litchfield and Hartford counties and showing up in lower Fairfield County.

“The population is growing and spreading, so there are more and more reports of them in the southern part of the state,” Rego said. “They’re kind of returning to a better habitat. We have more forest than decades ago. The forest has regrown, and that has been important for habitat and suitable living.”

Mary Ann Kleinschmitt, New Canaan’s animal control officer, said the bear that visited New Canaan on Tuesday meandered into the woods near the New Canaan Country Club. Police warned residents to keep their domestic animals indoors and to bring bird feeders and other food inside, as bears are usually on the hunt for food.

“Usually they keep moving until they find some territory that they’re comfortable in,” Kleinschmitt said.

Don’t expect to see a parade of bears in the downtown area, Rego said, as bears do not want to deal with people. If someone notices a bear, making a noise can cause it to leave.

“It’s very rare for them to be aggressive around people,” Rego said.

If you see a bear, call the New Canaan Police Department at 203-594-3500.

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