Law enforcement authorities in Connecticut are investigating the fatal shooting of a mother bear in Fairfield County who left behind two cubs.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and local police in Newtown are investigating after the bear was found shot and killed on Thursday, May 12.
According to Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal, he and DEEP are working to obtain a permit to rehabilitate the bear cubs with a wildlife specialist.
The bear, which had been dubbed “Bobbi the Bear” by its fans and neighbors on social media is being mourned online after news of the fatal shooting was reported.
It has been reported that the bear was shot multiple times on Scudder Road in Newtown, over a chicken coop invasion.
“I am so heartbroken! Bobbi came through our property each Spring and Fall, once bringing cubs. I hope this person is held accountable!,” one Facebook user posted.
“The DEEP has left the surviving bear cubs in the area as it is their home range, and their familiarity with the area will increase their chance of success,” a spokesperson for the Newtown Police Department said. “We urge people not to feed the bear cubs, which will greatly reduce that likelihood.
“This behavior will also diminish their fear of people creating a greater danger for the bear and public safety. Newtown is working with the DEEP to monitor the bear cubs.”
According to police, “with the growing bear population in the state (and region), residents must take steps to reduce the likelihood of an encounter with a bear.”
A separate Facebook group “Save Bobbi’s Cubs” also was launched in the wake of the shooting.
“We urge people to avoid feeding the bear cubs and give them space to continue learning to forage for natural food sources, free from human interference,” a DEEP spokesperson said.
“Human interaction or feeding the cubs can greatly reduce their chance of survival and will also diminish their natural fear of people, creating potential future danger for the bears and public safety. To best assist the cubs, monitoring should be left to DEEP and local officials.”
Officials said that these steps from DEEP can help reduce conflicts with bears:
- Never feed bears;
- Take down, clean, and put away bird feeders by late March, or even earlier during mild weather;
- Store garbage in secure, airtight containers inside a garage or other enclosed storage area;
- Do not store recyclables in a porch or screened sunroom as bears can smell these items and will rip screens to get them;
- Supervise dogs at all times while outside;
- Do not leave pet food outdoors or feed pets outside;
- Use electric fencing to protect chickens, other livestock, beehives, agricultural crops, and berry bushes;
- Avoid placing meat scraps or sweet foods, such as fruit or fruit peels, in compost piles.
Anyone who has information regarding the shooting has been asked to contact DEEP investigators by calling (860) 424-3011. Wildlife sightings can be reported to DEEP here.
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