Friday, July 14, 2006
Black bear on the prowl again in Carlisle
Seen from the north to the eastern parts of town, the black bear has returned to forage in Carlisle. Several years ago a number of black bear sightings and wrecked bird feeders alerted residents to a potentially dangerous aspect of Carlisle's vaunted rurality. This week at least five bear-related incidents have occurred. The first was on Blaisdell Drive on July 2 at 4:30 a.m. A week later, a Fiske Street resident who had been away from home returned to find his bee hives had been disturbed. On the 10th, a Patch Meadow Lane resident reported a bear sighting, and on the next day, July 11, a bear was sighted on Curve Street, near the Cranberry Bog. That night two bee hives were destroyed at 923 North Road. Bear activity is probably greater, since downed bird feeders and missing suet usually do not get reported to police. Also, it is uncertain whether the bear activity represents one bear making five appearances, or several bears operating alone.
Bears can be dangerous
Jim Cardoza, a bear biologist at the Westboro Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife office, advises people to stay inside if they see a bear, or suspect one is in the area. These creatures only look cuddly: an adult male can weigh from 150 to 300 pounds, and females, though smaller, will defend their cubs against any perceived threat. A seemingly "abandoned" bear cub is probably within the mother bear's earshot.
Cardoza says the bear population is expanding in central Massachusetts and at this time of year is "wandering a lot" as young animals are moving out on their own. Adult males have a 100 - 120 mile range, and it may be that Carlisle's ursine visitors are just passing through. A Great Brook State Park office spokesman said no bears have been sighted in the park so far this year, but anticipates seeing some in August when the animals are looking for denning sites.
The first rule for safety of person and property where bears are concerned, is not to tempt them by leaving food, bird seed, suet, garbage, or uneaten dishes of pet food around where they can smell it and get into it. Bears have good eyesight and hearing, but they rely mostly on their sense of smell, so food they can smell is nothing more than an invitation to visit and feast.
Persons interested in additional information about black bears may want to visit www.masswildlife.org.
© 2006 The