Black bear sightings continue in Fairfield County
A Wilton resident spotted a black bear on Friday wandering in the backyard. It was the third sighting this week in Fairfield County.
The resident took photos of the bear wandering the perimeter of the yard. Bears have been a sensitive subject in Wilton, with two men arrested in 2017 in a poaching incident.
A black bear — perhaps the same one — was also seen on North Avenue in Westport on Wednesday and on East Rocks Road in Norwalk on Thursday.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said there were 8,937 reported bear sightings in 2018 — an increase of more 1,200 from the 7,674 sightings in 2017.
The number of bear sightings, however, doesn’t necessarily translate to bear populations. The same bear can be spotted numerous times in various communities. DEEP has a complete list of sightings on its website.
DEEP estimates Connecticut has a bear population of around 800.
DEEP warns people to never feed bears, which are attracted to garbage, pet food, compost piles, fruit trees and bird feeders.
Bird feeders should be removed from March through November and trash cans should be kept inside a garage or shed. Adding ammonia to trash makes it unpalatable.
Grills should also be cleaned and stored away after use.
Don’t approach bears, leave pet food outside overnight, or add meat or sweets to a compost pile.
If a bear is encountered, make noise so the bear is a ware and back away slowly.