While Friday's summer heat brought out lots of walkers and bikers on the Farmington Canal Trail, it also attracted a black bear, according to several who live nearby.
"We got several reports of a bear in the area," Hamden Police Officer Dennis Putnam, who spent part of Friday afternoon patrolling in the area where the bear was spotted, said.
While it's not likely the bear would attack, that doesn't mean it's not jarring to see, he said.
"It can be quite intimidating," Putnam said, "thought they're not known to be aggressive."
The bear was first seen in the area of Brooksvale Avenue near the canal trail, he said, and apparently made its way south toward Shepard Avenue and then Todd Street.
Police received several reports of bear sightings, but of about two dozen people he talked to on the trail, none had seen the bear, Putnam said.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was notified but didn't respond because the bear was not posing a safety hazard, he said.
"The DEEP won't respond unless it is acting aggressive or up a tree or posing a danger to people," he said.
Putnam warned residents not to leave garbage out, especially in the summer heat as it will attract bear. Because of the 4th of July holiday, trash pickup in that area of town is this morning so there was trash put out in front of many houses in that area Friday afternoon.
The DEEP has the following recommendations:
If you see a bear:
- Enjoy it from a distance.
- Advertise your presence by shouting and waving your arms or walk slowly away.
- Never attempt to feed or attract bears.
- Report bear sightings to the Wildlife Division, at (860) 675-8130.
To avoid attracting bears:
- Remove bird feeders from late March through November. If a bear visits a bird feeder in winter, remove the feeder.
- Wait until the morning of collection before bringing out trash. Add a few capfuls of ammonia to trash bags and garbage cans to mask food odors. Keep trash bags in a container with a tight lid and store in a garage or shed.
- Do not leave pet food outside overnight. Store livestock food in airtight containers.
- Do not put meats or sweet-smelling fruit rinds in compost piles. Lime can be sprinkled on the compost pile to reduce the smell and discourage bears.
- Thoroughly clean grills after use or store in a garage or shed.
- Never intentionally feed bears. Bears that associate food with people may become aggressive and dangerous. This may lead to personal injury, property damage, and the need to destroy problem animals.
- Encourage your neighbors to take similar precautions.