Bear warning issued for Bethlehem - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Bear warning issued for Bethlehem

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Authorities are looking for a bear that they said killed three goats in Bethlehem. (DEEP) Authorities are looking for a bear that they said killed three goats in Bethlehem. (DEEP)

A bear warning was issued for the town of Bethlehem on Friday after state authorities said it was responsible for killing three goats.

Animal control officer Judy Umstead said the warning was issued after the goats deaths were reported along Hard Hill Road North in the last 24 hours.

Members of the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection have recovered hairs and footprints from the bear they believe to be responsible for the attacks.

People were asked to be extra vigilant. Although experts said this is a common time of year for bears to appear in Connecticut. 

"Well, they're coming out of hibernation," Umstead said. "They've had their cubs and they're looking for food. They're always hungry, right now."

DEEP officials said it is very normal for them to eat anything because they have a voracious appetite. 

Since last year, there have been nearly 4,700 bear sightings across the state. There were 36 of them in Bethlehem, but a number of others in nearby towns. There were 144 in Southbury, 102 Woodbury and 64 in Watertown.

However, this recent sighting was one of the most worrisome.

"It is disconcerting especially if they're killing animals," Pam Swendsen, of Bethlehem, said. "If they're just doing vegetation and bird feeders that's something different from actually killing animals."

DEEP officials are hoping to trap the bear and then, relocate it to another area. They will attempt to catch the animal, tag it and then, follow its movements.

"I guess the DEEP is going to do what they need to do because there is a lot of livestock here and I wouldn't want to see any of it harmed," Swendsen said.

Now, if you come across a black bear, DEEP has a number of recommendations to stay safe. To learn more about them, click here.  

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