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Orphaned bear cubs, focus of too much attention, to be captured in Newtown

Two bear cubs that were orphaned after an off-duty police officer shot and killed their mother in Newtown have drawn so much attention that the animals will have to be captured and sent to a wildlife rehabilitator, a spokesman for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said.

A DEEP crew and local officials found the cubs in a wooded area Sunday evening and they appeared to be in good health, DEEP spokesman Will Healey said.

However, wildlife officials are concerned about the young bears’ safety “due to the risk of continued public interaction,” Healey said. The bears have become a focus and a cause for many people after their mother was killed on Thursday. Details of the shooting have not been released, but Ridgefield Police Chief Jeff Kreitz confirmed Monday that a Ridgefield police officer “was involved in an off-duty incident in which a bear was shot and killed.” Kreitz referred all other questions to state authorities.

DEEP wildlife staff will try to capture the bears and take them to a rehabilitator, Healey said.

“DEEP wildlife biologists will be making every effort to make this process as smooth as possible for the cubs,” he said, urging people to stay away from the animals.

Initially, DEEP officials said they wanted the bears to stay in their home range with no interference as it was their best chance for survival. The area reportedly had plenty of food and good habitat.

At the same time, however, the Humane Society, Town First Selectman Dan Rosenthal and others called for the cubs to be taken to a wildlife rehabilitation organization.

Multiple social media posts identified the dead animal as Bobbi, a well-known bear in Newtown. Two Facebook pages have been launched — Bobbi the Bear #217 and Save Bobbi’s Cubs.

Rosenthal said he was “heartbroken over the loss of the bear and the orphaning of the cubs.” While he could not comment on the investigation, Rosenthal said he was lobbying DEEP to get the cubs to a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organization.

 

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