MERIDEN — A black bear cub struck by a vehicle on Friday has been euthanized, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The agency is asking residents throughout Connecticut to take steps to avoid encounters with black bears.
Cyndy Chanaca, a DEEP spokeswoman, said the agency was notified about 12:30 p.m. Friday that a black bear cub was struck on Kensington Avenue near Chamberlain Highway.
Due to injuries from the accident, the cub was euthanized by DEEP environmental conservation police, according to Chanaca.
The bear cub was then taken to Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington for examination, she said.
It’s unusual for a bear to be struck by a vehicle.
“I don’t think it happens often,” Chanaca said. “This is the season now where you will see mother bears out with their cubs. You want to be on the lookout for really any animals coming across the road.”
In 2016, about 6,700 bear sightings were reported to DEEP. The reports came from in 134 of the state’s 169 towns.
Chanaca said the department is urging residents to avoid confrontations with black bears. In a statement, DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen said “if you genuinely care about bears, you should never feed them — either intentionally or unintentionally.”
“Bears become habituated, losing their fear of humans, when attracted to homes by easily accessible food sources,” Whalen said. “Such bears spend more time in neighborhoods and near people, increasing public safety fears, and the likelihood that the bears may be hit and killed by cars or meet with some other misfortune.”
DEEP advises residents not to feed bears or leave food or trash unsecured outdoors. If you encounter a bear while hiking, make your presence know by yelling and don’t attempt to get closer to take a photo or video. If a bear doesn’t retreat, slowly leave the area and find an alternate route. If the bear approaches, make loud noises, wave your arms and throw sticks or rocks. Never run from the bear, DEEP advises.
Anyone who knows of a bear that has been aggressive toward people should contact DEEP’s 24 hour dispatch line at 860-424-3333. Anyone who encounters a bear is encouraged to report the sighting to DEEP at www.ct.gov/deep/wildlife or call 860-424-3011.
According to DEEP, there is a misconception that tagged bears have caused problems in the past. The agency says bears receive two tags the first time they are handled by DEEP staff. They are tagged as part of a project researching the bear population in Connecticut.