Kenneth E. Berkenbush, Chief
17 School Street
Amesbury, MA 01913
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Amesbury Firefighters Assist in Safely Relocating Mother Bear and and Cub
AMESBURY — Fire Chief Kenneth E. Berkenbush reports that Amesbury firefighters assisted in the safe and successful relocation of a mother bear and her cub who had climbed a tree on Tuesday morning.
Firefighters responded to the area of Elm Street at Atlantic Avenue at 9:54 a.m. Upon arrival, they found an approximately 150-pound black bear and a cub that had climbed a tree.
Bears routinely climb trees and generally can descend safely, but it can be problematic when bears climb trees in populated areas, as crowds can gather and startle them, causing a risk to public safety.
Firefighters using a ladder truck worked with officials from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) to tranquilize both bears and capture them. Firefighters also deployed tubs of ice to help prevent overheating, which can occur when a bear is tranquilized. The bears were tagged and released by MassWildlife back into the wild in a safe location.
Black bears are numerous in New England, and their population is on the rise in eastern Massachusetts. They generally avoid people, and people should likewise avoid them.
“We are pleased that today’s situation played out in a safe and efficient manner with no harm coming to bears or people alike,” Chief Berkenbush said. “We should always be mindful that we share the land with many varieties of wildlife, and I encourage all residents to do what they can to ensure peaceful coexistence with nature.”
If a resident sees a bear in the city:
- Leave the bear alone. Do not approach, feed, interact with, or in any way engage with a bear.
- Do not try to follow or track the bear.
- Do not attempt to take your picture near the bear
Bears, especially black bears, generally avoid people. If you chase a black bear, it may find its way into traffic or into a group of bystanders, creating a serious risk to the bear and public safety. Bears often climb trees to avoid people and will come down on their own when they are ready. However, bears can become trapped or scared when people gather nearby.
If you would like to minimize the likelihood that a bear will enter your yard or linger in your yard, please review these tips from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife:
- Avoid filling bird feeders: Bears that find a bird feeder will often revisit that site, month after month, year after year. Bird feeders, bird seed, corn and other bird foods can draw bears into closer proximity to people and often result in bears losing their fear of people.
- For those people who enjoy birds in their yard, MassWildlife suggests growing native plants, shrubs, and trees to attract birds. Adding a water feature is a big draw for birds. Taking these actions may increase the diversity of birds you see and will prevent the unnatural feeding of bears and other kinds of neighborhood wildlife.
- Bring empty bird feeders inside, as even empty ones may have a lingering scent that may draw a bear
- Take a close look at your yard for potential bear food sources such as bird feeders, pet food, dirty barbecue grills, open compost, or trash and remove the food sources immediately.
- Never leave pet food stores outside
If you come face to face with a bear:
Remain calm, talk to the bear in a calm voice (try ‘hey bear, hey bear”) and slowly back away and leave the area. If a bear approaches or follows you, make yourself look bigger by putting your arms above your head. Continue to repeat “hey bear” in a calm voice and back away and leave the area while monitoring the bear.
For additional information, visit mass.gov/bears