A bear caught breaking into homes in Canton is now dead. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) said they euthanized the animal and relocated her cubs.
“It didn't try to attack me at all, but I thought it was going to so I was freaking out. I was so scared,” said 16-year-old Landon Miner.
Last week, Miner came face-to-face with a large mama bear inside her home. It’s an encounter that left her shaken.
“Even though I know it’s not going to come in, everything is locked, for some reason every time I get home from school, I still feel like it came in or something,” Miner said.
For more than a week, Canton neighbors said a mama bear with four cubs has entered home after home. It’s entered some homes multiple times.
The Miners had four encounters, with the bear breaking in twice.
On Monday, DEEP said they received two more reports of it breaking into other homes and found it on the edge of an East Hill Road property.
“This bear, instead of running away, actually started circling, coming back towards the officer kind of acting in an aggressive manner,” said EnCon Police Colonel Chris Lewis.
DEEP said the mama bear had no fear of humans and their attempts at aversive conditioning failed to keep it away, so they euthanized her.
The Miners said they feel bad about what happened to the bear, but also worried about how her behavior might have escalated.
“Been here 25 years and never had an incident like this. I feel bad on one hand, but can’t be doing it on the other. It’s going to get bad with children in the house,” Ryan Miner said.
“I felt really bad for the bear. But at the same time, I kind of feel like it got into so many houses, and a lot of those houses had kids. And I was home alone,” Landon said.
DEEP also tranquilized the bear’s four cubs. One of the cubs never woke up and they relocated the other three. DEEP said they’re not sure why the one cub died.
“Our wildlife team took them out into a different area. It’s a heavily wooded area, but it’s a good area that has plenty of bear habitat, good bear food and forage for the bears,” Lewis said.
DEEP estimates the cubs to be about six months old.
But Connecticut Wildlife Rehabilitators Association President Laura Simon worries they won’t survive on their own for long.
“Cubs spend about a year and a half with the mother learning how to forage, fattening up on her milk, and learning all the skills they need to survive,” Simon said. “They’re not going to make it through winter. They’re going to die, and it’s a crying shame.”
Simon said she would have liked DEEP to do more aggressive aversive conditioning or to relocate the mama bear and cubs to a far more remote area.
“Wildlife is not encroaching on our habitat. They were here first. They're trying to coexist with us, and we need to teach them where we don't want them to be by not supplying food sources,” Simon said.
The Miners said Canton Police told them someone in the area was feeding that mama bear.
Experts say you should never feed bears. Bird feeders and bird seed should be removed from late March through November. Garbage should be secured, and pet food should never be left outside.
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