For Immediate Release - June 26, 2012

State Wildlife Officials Report Capture of Cape Cod Bear in Brookline

BOSTON – Tuesday, June 26, 2012 – Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) and the Massachusetts Environmental Police reported today about the capture and relocation of a black bear from a tree in the Chestnut Hill area of Brookline.  State wildlife officials confirmed this is the same bear which had been on Cape Cod earlier in June.

Because this bear was in a highly congested urban area, an interagency Large Animal Response Team (LART) was deployed to the area. The bear was darted by the Environmental Police, transported to a meeting area where the bear was transferred to MassWildlife officials who are transporting the animal to a remote location in western Massachusetts.

Recent sightings of black bears have been reported in the following towns of Dedham, Mendon, Medway, Medfield, Needham, Walpole, and Brookline. Officials cannot confirm that all sightings are the same bear. Officials noted that it is not unusual for young male black bears after being driven by its mother from its place of origin and travel great distances to search for its own territory.

Black Bear Facts

Black bears are adaptable and known to co-exist with people in suburban areas of Massachusetts. The statewide population of bears, last estimated in 2005 is 3,000 animals. The core range of the bear population in Massachusetts includes Worcester County, northern Middlesex County and west to the Berkshires. The black bear population has been slowly growing and expanding its range into eastern and southeastern Massachusetts. As the bear population expands and moves eastward, more black bears will be seen in eastern Massachusetts.

Black bears are wary of people and their first response is to flee from any perceived threat. Bears can be appreciated at a distance, but should be left alone. It is important that residents DO NOT feed bears. Residents should take down birdfeeders, secure trash in an enclosed shed or building, clean up after picnics or barbeques, and remove any other potential food sources.  More detailed information about black bears can be found on the DFW website at: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/fish-wildlife-plants/mammals/black-bear-mass.html

Interagency Large Animal Response Team

The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Environmental Police have an interagency Large Animal Response Team (LART) to respond to situations where bear and moose are posing a public safety threat.  The team members consist of DFW biologists and Environmental Police Officers with specific training in chemical immobilization of large animals.  

There are four options available to ensure public safety and the welfare of the animal when dealing with suburban or urban large animal response:  

  1. Keeping tabs on the animal from a distance or monitoring on-site is often all that is needed to allow the bear to move on. Usually the job becomes more public relations than public safety as officers try to keep people away from the bear.
  2. Trying to encourage the bear to go in a specific direction by using hazing techniques.
  3. Chemical immobilants (tranquilizers) may be used if the situation warrants this action. Trained staff from MassWildlife and/or the Environmental Police will exercise this option.  
  4. The last resort, when an immediate threat to public safety exists and chemical immobilization is not appropriate, is to euthanize the bear. This option is rarely implemented and is coordinated with MassWildlife or the Environmental Police.

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