A woman out for a walk stumbled upon the state’s bear “burial” ground recently and wondered why it was so easily accessible to the public.
She was walking in Session Woods in Burlington and went off the beaten path which lead to a composting site for euthanized animals.
“This area is closed and we don't expect to see the public down here,” said Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Wildlife Biologist Geoffrey Krukar.
The woman snapped some photos to document what she saw, which was bear carcasses, some fairly intact and some burned.
This is an area where euthanized bears go.
“We look at a number of biological things and then the remains are then composted on site here,” Krukar said, adding that composting the bears is a cheaper and more ecological way to do away with the animals.
“We figure that composting is a better way to go than rendering the animals which would be harmful chemicals and would cost the state between $100 and $200 per animal,” Krukar said.
When DEEP responds to a case, the majority of bears are relocated in a safe manner.
However, Krukar said there are those that need to be euthanized, like the one that chased two people in a Granby state forest.
“A serious public threat, a bear that enters a home is obviously one we would consider euthanizing or if it was in the act of attacking livestock,” Krukar said.
As for the composting site, only bones and tufts of fur could be seen on Wednesday.
Bodies were thoroughly covered by wood chips that minimized the odors and protected anyone who wandered too far away from the scene.
Neighbors are still on the fence after learning about the entire process.
“It should be alarming and it should be brought to more people's attention,” said Sandy McCann of Bristol.
“It's the state's land, the state has no trespassing signs, and the state has the right to do what they want with their land,” said James Tefoe of Bristol.
DEEP said there are no real plans to change the way they do this.
Some suggested burying the animals but fears of people falling into the holes prevented them from taking that route.
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