For the second time in two months, a bear visits Manchester's West SideBy DOUG ALDEN
New Hampshire Union Leader
June 24. 2018 10:08PM
MANCHESTER — A West Side neighborhood had a surprise visitor Sunday when a young male bear seen wandering the streets climbed a tree and spent several hours in its branches.
The yearling, which wildlife officials said likely has been on its own for a month or two, spent much of Sunday morning about 30 feet up in an oak in the back yard at 175 Kimball St.
The bear looked slightly confused as neighbors below scurried around getting cell phone pictures and video from a safe distance. The 110-pound male eventually climbed down on his own and ran off into the woods near Rock Rimmon Park.
“It actually worked out perfect. We couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Chris McKee, a conservation officer with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
McKee was concerned initially because the bear was high enough in the tree that falling could have caused serious injuries. He said Fish and Game wouldn’t tranquilize the bear at that height, so waiting it out and making sure it didn’t show aggression toward humans was the best option.
“He’s been hanging over my yard all morning,” said David Duperon, who lives on Moore Street, directly behind the home where the bear quietly rested in the tree.
Duperon and some friends spent the morning on a raised pool deck with a great view of the tree, where the bear occasionally repositioned himself.
Duperon said he had errands planned for the day until he heard his dog barking excitedly in the back yard.
“She does not bark at all — for nothing — so when she barked we knew something was going on,” Duperon said.
Duperon called police, who sent him to Fish and Game, then made sure his neighbor was aware of the bear.
“It was sitting there and I didn’t see it,” said Salah Flaih, who was enjoying a quiet morning in his back yard before Duperon delivered the news.
Flaih was stunned to see what he hadn’t noticed. He said it turned out to be a lot of fun for children in the neighborhood who came over for a look.
Duperon said he heard the barking around 8:30 a.m. The bear remained in the tree until slowly making his way down about 12:45 p.m., branch by branch, then resting at the base of the tree in Flaih’s fenced-in back yard, where the gate was left open as an invitation for the bear to leave.
After about 45 minutes in the yard, McKee said the bear finally decided to move along and went through the gate. Once the bear got outside the yard, it headed north. McKee followed, making sure it didn’t double back toward the homes.
“He ended up running up there and back into the wooded area where he’s safe and away from people,” McKee said of Rock Rimmon Park. “He’ll be spending a few hours out there resting.”
McKee said it isn’t uncommon for bears to find their way into developed areas, often attracted by the smell of food. He said there were several other bear sightings in Manchester on Sunday morning, none of which were the Kimball Street bear.
Last month, Fish and Game had to tranquilize a 115-pound bear on the West Side after it was spotted napping in a maple tree near a school. The bear fell safely into a net, then was relocated to another part of the state.
McKee said Fish and Game advises people every spring to be on the lookout for bears, remove easy food sources like bird feeders and make sure garbage is stored securely.
McKee said New Hampshire’s bear population is very healthy, which is all the more reason for people to be aware and careful.
“We don’t want them to associate humans with food,” McKee said. “We also want to keep them out of the city at all costs.”