In Simsbury, a mama bear and her two cubs needed to be rescued after they were stuck in a storm drain Wednesday. The effort took days but with a little creativity concluded with a happy ending.
Two neighbors on Bank Road say they heard an animal crying for help. And when they looked down a grate, they couldn’t believe what they saw.
“It took a while to believe that there was a bear down there,” said Scott Conrad.
Conrad lives in the quiet Simsbury neighborhood where he says bear sightings are common. Yet as many times as he’s seen a bear, he wasn’t expecting to see them in a storm drain in front of his house Tuesday evening.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
“It was crying more than it was angry,” explained Conrad. “It was crying and moaning because it had its cubs with it.”
Conrad says his neighbor alerted him and when he saw the bears, he called police. When police and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) arrived, the bears were trying to find a way out, underground.
“It was really kind of like a maze under there,” said Jason Hawley, a DEEP Wildlife biologist. “We were trying to figure out where the bears might be.”
Eventually, they were located, and rescue efforts began. A ladder and other items were dropped in the opening trying to help the bears climb to safety.
DEEP believes the bears got lost after seeking shelter and entering through a nearby culvert.
“It was a hot day and she got in there to kind of cool off,” Hawley said he believes.
Rescue efforts took days and multiple visits by DEEP. But after hours of coaxing Wednesday, they finally gained the bears’ trust. One by one, they started to climb up a long log, dropped inside the storm drain. First the mother and then her cubs. The creative effort and determination resulted in the bears running back into the woods on their own.
“It’s a happy ending because anything else would’ve been not so good,” said Conrad.