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Infamous mama bear resurfaces in Hanover with four new cubs

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 15. 2018 5:48AM
This photo is taken from an online petition on last spring to save a family of bears that has become a safety concern in Hanover. The pesky mother bear has returned to town with four new cubs. (JED WILLIAMSON)

CONCORD — State Fish and Game officials said they’ve reconnected with a now-infamous female bear on the loose in Hanover and are making plans to relocate her and her four new cubs into the wild later this spring.

Last spring, Fish and Game officials captured and moved three of the bear’s cubs from a previous litter that had become a nuisance in town, especially near Dartmouth College student housing neighborhoods.

At that time, however, the mother bear had evaded capture.

Gov. Chris Sununu overrode the recommendations of Fish and Game biologists and ordered these young bears be released rather than euthanized.

Fish and Game officials believed after the bears entered a home that they had become too domesticated and would be at risk living in the wild.

Sununu’s move proved politically popular, especially in the animal rights community across the country.

One of the three bears relocated last May was shot and killed by a hunter in Canada a few weeks after that release, however.

Bear biologist Andrew Timmins had confirmed the bear was shot in Stornoway, which is about 33 miles north of where the young bears had been released.

The mother bear has been found and was recently fitted with a GPS/radio collar that will allow Fish and Game biologists to track its movements and remove potential food sources to reduce the bear’s contacts with the public.

Timmins said the bear and this new litter will be moved and released into the wild when it warms up later this spring.

“It is critically important that area residents remove or secure any food attractants, specifically unsecured garbage and bird feeders,” Timmins said. “The failure of some residents to remove food attractants is what caused the level of habituation and food-conditioning exhibited by this bear. Most people do not intentionally feed bears, but inadvertent feeding via garbage and birdseed is equally as detrimental. Bear conflict avoidance is the goal, so bird feeders should be taken down and all garbage should be secured, with particular attention paid to areas of student housing, which has been a problem in the past.”

N.H. Fish and Game is working with Ben Kilham, the noted expert on bear behavior from Lyme and a longtime partner with the state’s bear management program.

“We’ll see how she is using that habitat,” Kilham said.

Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin said the mother bear was first spotted about three weeks ago in the vicinity of the den she had operated from last year.

Public Safety Animals General News Hanover

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