After killing 3 goats, mother bear and cubs relocated in CT

Photo of Tara O'Neill
One of the two cubs relocated with its mother from a Canton, Conn., home on Friday, May 7, 2021.

One of the two cubs relocated with its mother from a Canton, Conn., home on Friday, May 7, 2021.

DEEP Environmental Conservation Police / Contributed

CANTON — A mother bear and her cubs were recently relocated after the adult female bear killed three goats, according to officials.

Environmental Conservation police officers with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the agency’s wildlife biologists responded to a Canton home on Friday for a report of a bear killing goats with cubs nearby, according to Will Healey, a DEEP spokesman.

He said DEEP staff arrived to find the mother bear and her two young cubs were still in the area.

“When a bear is caught in the act of killing livestock, it is typically DEEP’s practice to euthanize the bear,” Healey said.

Given the age of the cubs — estimated to be about 3 and a half to 4 months old — and the likelihood they would die without the mother, DEEP opted to tranquilize the three bears and relocate them to state land a few miles awa, Healey said.

DEEP found that the mother bear had ear tags when she was previously tranquilized. He said those tags were not because of previous problems, rather as a part of her inclusion in the Wildlife Division’s biological study of the state’s bear population.

He said the agency does its best not to relocate bears, since it’s “usually desirable to keep a bear in an area it’s familiar with.” But Healey said there are some times when relocation is the best option — like when a bear shows up in a densely populated urban area, or where there are significant public safety risks to the public and the bear.

One recent example of that was when DEEP’s Environmental Conservation police responded to Queen Street in Southington near the Home Depot on a call about a bear running in and out of traffic. The officers got the bear out of the road and it ran up a tree. Healey said the bear was tranquilized, given two ear tags and moved to a wooded area without injury.

“Incidents such as these demonstrate the delicate challenges of managing wildlife in a densely forested yet urbanized state such as Connecticut,” Healey said.

Following Friday’s incident, DEEP said the agency continues to urge owners of livestock, especially those in rural areas where bears and other predators are presents, to use electrified fencing. Healey said this is the most effective way to protect chicken coops, livestock enclosures, beehives gardens and feed storage.

Healey said residents should assume bears are around, even if they aren’t seen, and take steps to prevent possible negative interactions.

To check to see if bears have been seen in your town or surrounding areas, click here.

To report a bear or other wildlife sighting to DEEP, click here.

For tips on coexisting with bears in Connecticut, click here.