Woman who had close bear encounter wants animal to live - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Woman who had close bear encounter wants animal to live

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(Stephanie Rivkin photo) (Stephanie Rivkin photo)
BURLINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

A woman who had a close encounter with two bears said she wants the animals to live.

The incident happened on a hiking trail in Burlington Friday afternoon.

Stephanie Rivkin said she captured the whole thing on camera.

It prompted the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to close the Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area trails. The trail was closed on Friday however it was reported to be open on Monday.

Rivkin reported to DEEP that the bears, both about a year and a half old, followed her for quite some time. One even circled her and even had its mouth make contact with her leg.

“At first, I just stood there,” she told Eyewitness News. “I wasn’t sure how to react or respond.”

One had tags on its ears, which DEEP said was from when the animal was tagged in a winter den. DEEP also said it had to relocate this bear twice.

He broke into a Granby home and then earlier this summer he attempted to follow a woman into a building in Windsor.

Rivkin said she was not hurt during the encounter.

DEEP said because of the tagged bear’s history and behavior, it would have to be euthanized. Experts called the behavior "bold and aggressive" as they believe the bear was testing potential prey.

Rivkin told Eyewitness News that she received threats concerning the bear’s life. However, she said she wants the bear to live.

A petition even began circulating online to save the bear’s life. It’s garnered more than 6,400 signatures.

According to DEEP's website, Burlington has the second-most reported bear sightings in the state this year with 309. Only Avon has more.

For more on the bears in Connecticut and what to do if one is encountered, head to DEEP's website here.

In a statement, DEEP said "There are occasions, like this one, however, when stronger action must be taken to protect the safety of the public. While we appreciate your concerns, imagine the public outcry that would develop if no effort was made to locate and euthanize this bear and in another future encounter it actually harms someone."

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    Burlington trails closed after bear approaches hiker

    Friday, August 28 2015 7:22 PM EDT2015-08-28 23:22:55 GMT
    Burlington trails closed after bear approaches hiker (Stephanie Rivkin)Burlington trails closed after bear approaches hiker (Stephanie Rivkin)
    The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has closed hiking trails at Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area after a bear approached a female hiker Friday afternoon.More >
    The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has closed hiking trails at Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area after a bear approached a female hiker Friday afternoon.More >