NEWTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) rescued two orphaned bear cubs in Newtown Monday night, days after their mother bear was fatally shot.
According to DEEP, staff was able to tranquilize both cubs and capture them safely. Both cubs are “very healthy” and “will be placed into the care of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator within the next 24 hours,” according to a post on DEEP’s Facebook page.
DEEP biologists were in the forest for about 12 hours. Just before dark, they emerged from the forest, wet from the rain, carrying two sleep small bear cubs in cages.
“We’ve had staff working a very long day, so it’s nice to have a successful outcome,” said Jenny Dickson, director of the wildlife division for DEEP.
Once the second cub came down close enough to the ground, they were able to tranquilize and catch it.
The Connecticut Wildlife Rehabilitators Association and the Humane Society have been tracking the cubs all weekend. They’ve been pushing DEEP to put the cubs in a wildlife rehab facility so they can be fed properly and eventually be released back to their natural habitat.
“It has to be done properly. One of the things we don’t want is the bears to get too used to people, habituated to people, so they need to be raised in a way that keeps them wild,” said Laura Simon, president of the Connecticut Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.
Ridgefield Police Chief Jeff Kreitz said the department is aware that one of their officers was involved in an off-duty incident where Bobbi the mother bear was shot and killed on Thursday.
DEEP said the investigation into the shooting continues.
Neighbors in Newtown are upset over Bobbi’s death.
Melissa Murphy of Newtown says she’s seen Bobbi in the woods around Scudder Road every spring. One day, Murphy was working in her vegetable garden and came face to face with Bobbi.
“And we sort of surprised each other, and we both went ‘ahhh,’ and then she turned and just walked away,” Murphy said.
Most neighbors described Bobbi as an unbothered bear that appeared in your backyard now and then. If you saw double-tagged ears, you knew it was Bobbi.
“I know bears can be dangerous, but we never had a problem with number 217,” Murphy said.
Connecticut law bans the killing of bears, except in self-defense when someone believes the animal is going to kill or seriously injure a person.
Any witnesses to the shooting of Bobbi are asked to contact DEEP at 860-424-3011.