FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – The bear spotted roaming through a residential area of Weston this week was the same bear found eating branches in a tree in downtown Danbury on June 4, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection confirmed.
The bear was tagged after it was captured in Danbury and before it was released in the wild, said Paul Rego, a wildlife biologist for the department. "It appears to be same bear. And untagged bears are out there, too."
In fact, another bear sighting in Weston did not involve the Danbury bear, which can easily be recognized by its pink ear tags.
Although Fairfield County residents -- even those in rural corners -- may view this as an urban area, there is a sizable wildlife population out there, with bear sightings this month in Westport as well.
"Having another bear or several in Fairfield County is not unusual. We have a growing population of bears in the state," Rego said. "If people haven't experienced a bear, they probably will in the coming years."
Although the black bears found in Connecticut are most likely looking for food and other bears, they can be dangerous and should be avoided, he said.
"The best thing is to make some noise, so the bear knows you are there. It will often leave if it knows a human is there," he said. "Once that noise is made, it's best to back away, preferably into a house." A woman in West Hartford sustained leg injuries during an encounter with a bear this spring. he said.
As bear sightings increase around Fairfield County, DEEP is asking residents to remove food remnants or garbage around their yards and keep their distance if they see a bear.
There were 34 bear sightings reported from June 14, 2012, and May 29, 2013, in The Daily Voice's Fairfield County readership areas, DEEP said. In total, 153 bear sightings were reported throughout Fairfield County during that period.
One wandering bear can be responsible for numerous sightings reported to the Wildlife Division, DEEP said. Given an option to escape, bears will usually wander back into more secluded areas, according to DEEP.
DEEP says residents should remove birdfeeders from late March to November, add ammonia to trash that’s kept in outdoor trashcans to make it unpalatable, and clean and store grills after use. Never leave pet food outside overnight, never add meat or sweets to a compost pile, and never intentionally feed a bear, it said.
Although bears normally leave an area if they sense a human and bear attacks are exceptionally low, DEEP warns that if hikers or campers see a bear, they should make their presence known by making noise and waving their arms.
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