West Hartford

Bear Takes Up Shelter In Hole in Tree in Conn. Neighborhood

The Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection said if you see a bear in your town or neighborhood, leave it alone

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A bear has made itself right at home inside a hole in a tree not far from the center of West Hartford and it does not seem to want to leave.

Martha Guidry, of West Hartford, said the bear has been in the tree for about six weeks.

“Every once in a while, he pokes his head out and says hello, but he hasn’t really moved, so, I think he’s down for the count,” she said.

When the bear initially moved into the tree, Guidry said, she was nervous. Now there is a curiosity factor.

“Every day I wake up and I look out the window to see. Is his head sticking out? Is he smiling? Is he sleeping?” she said.

Kimberly Plumb, of West Hartford, said they are kind of worried because there are a lot of small kids in the neighborhood. And she’s more cautious when she goes for a run in the morning.

“It’s a little startling to see it, just hanging out there. I mean it’s a pretty populated area,” Plumb said.

“I just don’t want it to be out looking for food and you know startling a person or a kid or an animal and having a bad outcome,” she added.

Martha Guidry’s house backs up against Patti Aucoin’s property. All that separates her home from the tree is a six-foot fence, but she says she’s not too concerned.

“He’s not really bothering us,” said Guidry. "He watched me rake my leaves. He watched me mow my lawn. I mean, I think I am like bear TV.”

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said black bears are increasingly common in Connecticut and reports of bear sightings, even in heavily populated residential areas, are on the rise.

The Wildlife Division has also seen an increase in the number of reports of problems with black bears.

DEEP says the primary contributing factor to bear problems is easily-accessible food sources near homes and businesses.

They said if a bear is seen in your town or neighborhood, leave it alone. In most situations, the bear will usually wander back into more secluded areas.

They urge residents to keep dogs under control, to stay away from the bear and advise other people to do the same.

They urge people not to approach the bear to take a photo or video. Often a bear will climb a tree to avoid people and a crowd of bystanders will only stress the bear and also add the risk that the bear will be chased into traffic or the crowd of people, according to DEEP.

Reporting Bear Sightings

If a bear has damaged your property or you have specific questions about bears, call the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011.

If a bear is in a densely populated area, all the DEEP Wildlife Division (860-424-3011, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or DEEP Dispatch (860-424-3333, 24 hours) to report the sighting and obtain advice.

DEEP’s website says the department might 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 immobilization is feasible.

In the rare instance when a bear appears to be aggressive toward people, or if there are other immediate public safety concerns involving a bear, call DEEP’s Environmental Conservation Police through DEEP’s 24-hour emergency dispatch line at 860-424-3333.

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