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Easton Is Becoming Bear Country

EASTON, Conn. – Residents of Easton should not be too surprised if they happen to see more black bears around town.

Paul Rego, a wildlife biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said the black bear population in the state has grown the past 30 years. Eastonites surely took notice two weeks ago, when a black bear was spotted near the intersection of Southfield and Ridgeway roads.

With more of the animals around, Rego said, they are expanding from their usual hot spots in the northwestern portion of the state in Litchfield and Hartford counties and showing up in lower Fairfield County.

“The population is growing and spreading, so there are more and more reports of them in the southern part of the state,” Rego said. “They’re kind of returning to a better habitat. We have more forest than decades ago. The forest has regrown, and that has been important for habitat and suitable living.”

Kelly Fitch, Easton’s animal control officer with the police department, said bears have been spotted in Easton five times the past year on Wilson, Beers and Rock House roads and South Park Avenue. She advised residents to bring their bird feeders inside.

“Bears love bird feeders, so take them in,” she said.

In the past, when bears have been spotted in Easton, they've been gone before the police arrived. Fitch said the police will call the Department of Environmental Protection if they see an aggressive bear. “The DEP will tranquilize and remove them,” she said.

If you see a bear, call the Easton Police Department at 203-268-4111.

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