A much-beloved black bear nicknamed "211" after its tag who brought a smile to thousands of faces had to be put down by police after it was hit by a vehicle that left the scene.
The bear, who had its own Facebook page, was hit in Fairfield County around 6:20 p.m., on Monday, July 26, in Easton.
The bear who liked to swing in neighborhood hammocks and play on a slip-and-slide, was found on Route 136 west of Wilson Road, said Easton Police Chief Richard Doyle.
"Upon arrival officers found a bear that was suffering from serious injuries and had to be put down," Doyle said.
DEEP was notified and responded to remove the bear who was wearing the tag 211, the chief added.
A large outpouring of grief filled the bear's Facebook page after news spread of the bear's death.
"My heart is broken right now to the point where I can’t stop the tears. I am in the middle of making a Bear 211 album, (which I will continue), because of the joy he has brought me, and so many others," said one poster.
"I can't get over how sad this is, this poor bear was so loved and followed," said another poster.
The Facebook page for the bear had more than 5,000 followers who would tell the tale of 211's movements which included laying on outdoor couches and swimming in area pools.
Over the weekend, a Fairfield woman posted 211's visit her yard in the Greenfield Hill neighborhood on Saturday, July 24, where he swung in the hammock and chewed up a splash pad, and snacked on a flip flop before taking a nap in the hammock.
"How will we celebrate the life of beloved Bear 211?" a poster asked. "He brought so much joy to all of us who followed his amazing journeys. We are heartbroken, as this silly bear brought so many smiles to our family. GodSpeed211"
And although some said the bear should have been relocated, officials with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) say the "mere presence of a bear does not necessitate its removal."
The department does remove bears that become aggressive or have easily accessible food and lose their fear of humans.
Others on the Facebook page said the joy 211 brought to all is a reminder to drive carefully and watch out for other black bears in the area.
"We loved you baby bear, So sad," one poster said as a goodbye with tons of hearts.
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