Sessions Woods trails remain closed after 2 bears euthanized - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Sessions Woods trails remain closed after 2 bears euthanized

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Two bears that a hiker encountered in Burlington last week have been euthanized. (Stephanie Rivkin) Two bears that a hiker encountered in Burlington last week have been euthanized. (Stephanie Rivkin)
Burlington trails closed after bear approaches hiker (Stephanie Rivkin) Burlington trails closed after bear approaches hiker (Stephanie Rivkin)
BURLINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

Two bears that a hiker encountered in Burlington last week have been euthanized.

Officials from the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the bear that walked up to the hiker was euthanized on Wednesday at about 1:45 p.m.

“The bear was taken in the same area where it interacted with the hiker last week. It was also again accompanied by a second, larger bear – which is unusual,” DEEP officials said in a press release.

Officials also said the bear showed bold and aggressive behavior at Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington last Friday.

Video of the bear, which was taken by the hiker, showed tags on its ears that had been placed by DEEP staff.

Officials said the bear also circled the woman when she stopped walking and at one point “it appears that its mouth made contact with the hiker’s leg.”
The hiker was not injured.

DEEP records show the bear was first tagged as a yearling in its winter den, and was captured and relocated at least one other time.

“This male bear had a history of aggressive behavior toward humans. It was captured, tranquilized and relocated from the perimeter fence at Bradley International Airport in June of this year. Later that month, it attempted to follow a woman into a building in Windsor. In July, it was suspected of entering a home in Granby,” DEEP officials said in a press release.

Also, while officials were searching for the bear involved in Friday’s incident, a second bear was euthanized at Sessions Woods shortly before 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

DEEP officials said this happened after they were notified about a bear that was in the area where the hiker was last Friday.

Officials said that female bear was traveling with a larger bear that was about the same size as the male bear being sought and exhibited similar behavior.

“It charged one of the two DEEP Wildlife Division staff people that were on the scene,” officials said in the release.

Because of the “unusually high bear activity in the area,” officials said Sessions Woods will remain closed until further notice.

Hiker Stephanie Rivkin captured the encounter on camera last week. She told Eyewitness News she wanted the bear to live, and a petition was even circulating online to save the bear's life. As of Wednesday, the petition had garnered over 45,000 signatures.

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

In a statement earlier this week, 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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    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 >