Once a rare sight, the black bear is making a comeback in Fairfield County -- and statewide.
The Connecticut State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) reported that a total of 7,493 black bear sightings have been reported in Connecticut in the past year, from Aug. 10, 2017 to Aug. 5 of this year, including hundreds in Fairfield County.
Most of the sightings have come in Northern Fairfield, with Newtown easily taking the top spot with more than 200 sightings, followed by Brookfield and Danbury.
Here's the complete rundown of sightings in Fairfield County:
- Bethel: 24;
- Brookfield: 151;
- Danbury: 97;
- Easton: 33;
- Fairfield: 5;
- Greenwich: 8;
- Monroe: 66;
- New Fairfield: 51;
- Newtown: 209;
- Ridgefield: 25;
- Sandy Hook: 2;
- Stamford, 2;
- Trumbull: 5;
- Weston: 4;
- Westport: 2;
- Wilton: 12.
Following the latest bear sightings, officials offered a series of tips in case of a close encounter:
- Remain calm and avoid sudden movements;
- Give the bear plenty of room, allowing it to continue its activities undisturbed. If it changes its behavior, you are too close, back away;
- If you see a bear, but it doesn't see you, detour quickly and quietly;
- If it sees you, talk in normal tones and wave your arms;
- If a bear pursues you, do not run. Throw a personal item on the ground. He may be distracted by this and allow you to slowly escape;
- A standing bear is not always a sign of aggression. Many bears will stand to get a better view.
"If a bear is seen in your town or neighborhood, leave it alone. In most situations, if left alone and given an avenue for escape, the bear will usually wander back into more secluded areas," according to the DEEP. "Keep dogs under control. Stay away from the bear and advise others to do the same. Do not approach the bear so as to take a photo or video. Often a bear will climb a tree to avoid people. 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."
A complete list of black bear sightings in Connecticut can be found here .
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