FARMINGTON– The weather is getting warmer outside, which means bears are out of hibernation and on the prowl.
The Department of Energy & Environmental Protection says the black bear population is on the rise in the state. More than 3,000 black bears were spotted in the state in the past year, and the number continues to increase.
One bear made its way through a Farmington neighborhood, where residents got an up close and personal look.
A furry surprise greeted many people who live in the Lake Garda neighborhood of Unionville Saturday morning. The bear was seen roaming around the neighborhood, and video of the bear was shot by a familiar neighbor— Fox Connecticut’s John Charlton.
Peter Byron and Olivia Lawrence took pictures as the bear strolled through their yard. The couple say it was the first time they’ve seen one on their property. Byron says the bear was seen clawing and rubbing its back against a nearby utility pole.
“It came across the street there near the stop sign, then went out to windows near the brown house. It was all pretty exciting,” said Byron.
According to the D.E.E.P, the Town of Farmington has had 327 reports of black bear sightings since May 2013 — the most of any town in the state. In Connecticut, there have been 3,229 black bear sightings in that span.
Our own cameras spotted a black bear right off of Route 6 in Farmington as it wandered off into the woods Saturday afternoon.
“I kind of get scared, because I know majority of the time they won’t run after you, but if they have cubs they may feel threatened,” said 12-year-old Farmington resident Anthony Seaholm, who says he has seen multiple bears near his home.
Anthony’s mother, Christine Seaholm, a resident of Unionville’s Lake Garda neighborhood, told her teenage sons not to jog outside anymore because of the increasing presence of bears.
“I didn’t see bears until a few years ago. I noticed a frequency increase in the past few years. We see a lot. It’s constant now,” said Seaholm.
DEEP says people should make certain their yard is not a food source for bears and other animals. If there are bird feeders, easily accessible garbage cans, remains from cooking out, animals will keep coming back, leading to more interactions with people and possible problems as the animals start to lose natural fear of people.
The DEEP also urges people to observe bears (and other wildlife) from a distance. They are beautiful and compelling, but they are wild animals and must be treated with caution and respect.