- Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Media Contact for Denning bear family relocated from highway median
Marion Larson, MassWildlife
On the morning of March 14, MassWildlife, with the help of transportation and law enforcement officials, closed Rte. 2 in the Templeton area for a short period of time to successfully immobilize and relocate a GPS-collared female black bear with two cubs from a wintering den site in the highway median strip. Based on the GPS-collar data, MassWildlife biologists know the adult female went into this den site for the winter in November. She gave birth to her cubs some time in mid to late January. MassWildlife officials chose to relocate the bear family to a safer and more suitable location in a nearby wooded area to reduce the risk of vehicle collision when the cubs grow large enough to travel with their mother. The exact relocation site is not being disclosed to protect the safety of the young cubs at this particularly vulnerable phase of their lives. The adult female bear weighed 206 pounds; her two cubs (1 male and 1 female) each weighed a hefty 8+ pounds. The adult female is one of over thirty bears involved in a MassWildlife research project comparing differences between suburban-dwelling bears and bears residing in more rural areas. MassWildlife biologists are gathering data by collaring bears with radio telemetry and GPS-collars in the Berkshires, Connecticut River Valley, and Worcester County.
MassWildlife officials would also like to remind the public that March is the month when hungry bears emerge from their winter dens and seek out food. Natural foods such as acorns and other nuts are usually available on the ground, but last year’s fall hard mast crop was meager. Other seasonally available natural foods eaten by bears, such as skunk cabbage, are mostly ignored when there is an easy and more filling meal at backyard bird feeders, chicken coops, beehives, garbage cans, and dumpsters. To prevent conflicts between people and bears, MassWildlife urges homeowners and food-related business in northern Middlesex County, Worcester County, western Massachusetts, or other areas where bears have been seen, to take down bird feeders and secure dumpsters and other waste containers. Beekeepers and poultry owners are advised to set up electric fencing as protection against marauding bears. For more information about black bears in Massachusetts and watch a video titled “Don’t Feed Bears, Keep Them Wild” visit mass.gov/bears.