Keeping track of Connecticut’s bear population

AVON, Conn. (WTNH) — The bear population is growing in Connecticut, and there is stress on them to find food, and they are being pushed out into the urban areas.

We had one in New Haven this summer, and one of the tools they use to control them, is a culvert trap. DEEP has six traps, and they need more as the bear population continues to thrive.

Jason Hawley, a Wildlife Biologist for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, says there about 650 bears in Connecticut right now, but every year the population grows by 10-percent. The best way to control the population is through hunting, a decision that will be left up to lawmakers.

Hawley explained that the signs of a growing bear population in Connecticut are obvious.

Every year we are having more human bear conflicts more sightings more bears being struck by vehicles. That is indicative of a growing population.”

That is why the biologists have been tracking bears across Connecticut. This year, they have removed bears from cities like New Haven and Waterbury, but there are other bears living side-by-side with people in urban areas every day that don’t become a nuisance, like a female bear near Avon.

Related Content: DEEP warning residents as wild animal sightings increase

“She is using small chunks of forest between the mall and the car dealerships and in between houses.”

Hawley say the bears won’t become a problem unless humans start to feed them through things like birdfeeders and trash cans. That’s what turns a wild bear into a problem when it doesn’t become afraid of people.

“For a bear it is habitat, there is food there, the calories they can get from someone’s birdfeeder or someone’s trashcan far outweighs what they can get foraging naturally in the woods.”

The biologists hope that by educating the public they won’t have to use traps or resort to hunting down the line.

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