WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The bear population in Connecticut is at an all-time high, with sightings increasing as they emerge from hibernation.
More than 1,200 bears are waking up across the state. They see a lot of bear sightings in West Hartford.
“I moved into my house and within two weeks I found a bear looking at me through a sliding glass window that really scared me, it was probably three or 400 pounds,” Mike Zibel said. of West Hartford.
Now is when bears need food after hibernating for the winter, so now is the time to be on the safe side.
Avon leads the way with 634 bear sightings last year. Simsbury is right behind them with 622, while Farmington had 403, Granby had 372 and West Hartford had 330.
Each winter, a team of bear biologists search dens in concrete culverts under porches and in backyards to see how many new baby bears have been added to the population in the spring.
One of the things they keep track of in the study is lineage. When they check the bears again the following year, they can check the morality rate.
Five years ago, the bear population was around 600-800. The population continues to thrive.
“We have about 1,200 bears in Connecticut, but that number keeps growing, and I think the easiest way for people to remember that is that we can have bears in any city in the world. Connecticut,” said Jenny Dickson, director of DEEP. Wildlife Divisions.
There are so many bears that DEEP asks you to only report aggressive or close encounters with them. You can do this via their website here.
“Major property damage, they tore down a fence, they pulled the siding off the garage, they broke something else in the yard trying to get into a food source. We definitely want to know about that,” Dickson said.
If you’re enjoying the day and a bear comes by and has one of the tags in its ear, DEEP recommends seeing if you can get the tag number. Don’t get too close to the bear, but if you can report this number to DEEP, it will help them track people across the state.