Friday, May 4, 2007
Heard around town Carlisle's Black Bear: Friend or Foe?
Residents at the Transfer Station on April 21 and 28 shared their opinions about the Black Bear with this reporter. Many people seem to feel strongly about the bear and surprisingly, many preferred to comment anonymously on both sides of the question. Some residents said they didn't want to risk alienating their neighbors.
Most people who have actually seen the bear estimated at about 300 pounds consider it a foe and would like it removed, with one notable exception. A woman who came within 20 feet of the bear and viewed it from her porch considers it a "friend" and calls it "a magnificent creature."
A man who identified himself as a hunter has seen bears before, although not the one in Carlisle. He considers this bear a foe because it has demonstrated that it has lost its fear of humans with the recent attacks on bird feeders and breaks into barns. He believes that even if the bear is tranquilized and moved away, it may again make its way back to civilization and the easy food pickings near human dwellings. In a sense, Carlisle would just be transferring the problem to another location. Nonetheless, the man hoped the bear would become re-acclimated to the wild, and would not need to be put down. He suggested using a collar as the Yellowstone Park rangers do to facilitate identification of the bear as a "repeat offender."
Many residents have seen the Environmental Police cars around town, and one man expressed his impression that they are "literally gunning for the bear." Several people attended the recent talk in town about bears (See "The bare facts for bear watchers," Mosquito, April 20).
One woman confirmed that she has witnessed a night-time stakeout for the bear by the Environmental Police near her home. She was told that the plan for the bear was to hit it with rubber bullets to discourage it from coming close to the houses. She believes this is a first step and that if the bear continues to inflict property damage, the Environmental Police will put the bear down permanently.
It is somewhat surprising that for the first time this spring, the Police Log does not list a bear sighting reported by a resident. Whether this is because the bear has moved or people are reluctant to report its movements is unknown.
Friend or foe? Here is what some residents had to say.
"Friend! I was just reading the article in the paper. I completely agree about keeping the bear away from houses and watching out at night, but they tend to be friendly and a lot more afraid of us than we are of them. That's my take."
- Enio Velazco, Woodland Road
" Well, if it's going to eat somebody's dog or rip up somebody's child, then it's got to be moved or maybe even killed. But if it can stay in the woods maybe put up a giant invisible fence? I don't really know what you can domaybe ask some experts first?
- Steve Herbst, School Street
"Friend. We haven't seen the bear, but we've seen traces of paw marks."
- Lois Lombardi, Great Brook Path
If it stays away from the people, it would be a 'friend.'"
- Robert Galejs, Robbins Drive
"Friend. It was here before we were. I'm not concerned about my dogs -- there's coyotes and everything else out there so I just have to know where the dogs are. I haven't had a visit yet, but I'd like one!"
- George Fardy, Rockland Road
"Friend!" (Jeff Blue)
"I know why! My friend at school saw it. It's a friend!" (Carly Blue)
- Jeff and Carly Blue, Buttrick Lane
© 2007 The Carlisle Mosquito