An inside look at the state’s growing bear population

Report It photo of a black bear in Berlin, by Chris Veckert.

(WTNH) — State environment officials are tracking the bear population in Connecticut.

DEEP biologists met at a concrete factory in Avon. Wednesday, Paul Rego led a team of DEEP Bear Biologists as they checked a bear den as part of a population survey.

“Connecticut has a growing bear population, and that is been the case for 30 years,” said Rego.

Biologists listen to the radio signal from the collar and realize the bear and her yearling are on the move. For nearly 2 miles, the bears run through a field, behind a self storage facility, and into a neighborhood. Rego says this is not uncommon.

“Some of the bears are finding that they can live in close association with humans and there is a lot of human bear conflict, as a result,” said Rego.

After passing by several homes, the mother and her daughter seek shelter in a tree. After about 45 minutes, the bears come down, and the biologists are able to tranquilize them.

“One of the things they keep track of in this study, is lineage. This pair is a mother and daughter, and she had a brother or sister when they checked the den last year. Rego says, now that they were able to catch up with the bears again this year, they can check on the mortality rate.

“We don’t know the fate of the other one, most likely it died somewhere along the line since last spring. It could’ve been hit by a car, it could’ve possibly been killed by a male bear,” said Rego.

DEEP says 70 percent of cubs and yearlings survive.

To see reports of black bear activity in Connecticut, click here.

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