What to do if you see a bear in town

Black bears can become a nuisance if they wander into your neighborhood. Here are some things to keep in mind if you spot a black bear in your town.

What to do

  • If a bear is sighted in town, leave the animal alone. In most situations, if left alone, the bear will return to the forest on its own.
  • Keep dogs under control. Stay away from the bear and tell others to do the same. Often a bear will climb a tree to avoid people. A gathering of people not only stresses the animal, but it adds the risk of having a bear chased out into traffic or into a group of bystanders.
  • If a bear is in a populated area, contact the Environmental Police Radio Room at 1 (800) 632-8075 or the nearest MassWildlife District Office to report the sighting and get advice. The mere presence of a bear in a populated area is not a public safety threat and the bear will leave the area on its own. The Environmental Police or MassWildlife will provide advice and determine if a response from the Large Animal Response Team (LART) is necessary.
  • LART consists of MassWildlife biologists and Environmental Police Officers with specific training in chemical immobilization of large animals. Members of the team can provide anything from technical advice to responding to the scene. LART will coordinate efforts with police, animal control officers, MassDOT and local public works departments to ensure public safety as well as the welfare of the animal. In most cases, bears in residential areas do not need a LART response and will leave the area on their own.

Additional Resources

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