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DEP To Search For A Bear Involved In An Incident With A Trumbull Man

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today is in the process of searching for a black bear in Trumbull. The bear that is being sought was involved in an encounter with Trumbull man last evening.

At approximately 7:45 p.m. last evening – Friday, August 29, 2003 – Christopher Magee, age 17 of Trumbull, encountered a black bear in the heavily wooded Pequonnock Valley section of town while looking for his labrador retriever. Startled, the bear reacted defensively, sprang up and collided with Mr. Magee resulting in a brief physical encounter with Mr. Magee being knocked to the ground. The bear ran off and Mr. Magee, who suffered some scratches to his chest and back, got up and left the area. The dog was found later unharmed. Mr. Magee reported the encounter to the Trumbull Police Department last evening which informed the DEP.

"This is a very unfortunate incident. However, we are glad that the individual involved was not too seriously hurt and is recuperating," said DEP Commissioner Arthur J. Rocque, Jr. "With bears becoming more widespread throughout Connecticut, interactions with humans are increasing dramatically. Fortunately, this is the only interaction in Connecticut in recent memory where a physical encounter occurred."

"Bears tend to keep to themselves and seldom exhibit aggressive behavior towards humans. Based on the circumstances in this case, the public should be aware that a bear is in the area and report any sightings to the DEP. However, there is no evidence to suggest that this is an aggressive bear and the public should not be overly alarmed," said DEP Commissioner Rocque. "However, when bears are surprised or startled they will react defensively to protect themselves and that appears to be the case in this situation."

Earlier today, DEP Conservation Officers interviewed Mr. Magee at his home and investigated the scene of the incident. Later today, DEP Conservation Officers and Wildlife Biologists will set a trap in an attempt to capture the bear. In addition, with assistance from the Trumbull Police Department, DEP Conservation Officers will be walking the area in search of the bear. If found, the bear will be euthanized.

"Throughout the day, we will actively be searching for the bear. Once located, the bear will be euthanized for that is that the response dictated by the agency’s policy for dealing with a bear involved in a physical encounter with a human," said DEP Commissioner Rocque.

This is believed to be the first bear-human physical encounter in Connecticut in recent history. Connecticut’s bear population continues to grow. More than 1,000 bear sightings have been reported to the DEP this year. To address or deal with individual bears and circumstances that affect public health and property, the DEP has developed protocols. The objective of these protocols is to maintain a healthy bear population and manage the coexistence of bears with humans.

If you see a bear:

bulletEnjoy it from a distance.
bulletAdvertise your presence by shouting and waving your arms or walk slowly away.
bulletNever attempt to feed or attract bears.
bulletReport bear sightings to the Wildlife Division, at (860)-675-8130.




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