The black bear that spent several weeks this spring wandering the forests, yards, beaches and roadways of Cape Cod has been captured. Just last weekend, plans to trap and relocate the bear had been scrapped by state wildlife officials in favor of simply monitoring the 180-pound male bear. The traps, baited with doughnuts, were taken away.
But when the bear wandered into the heart of Provincetown – he was seen at the Provincetown Monument – officials decided it was time to act to protect the safety of the bear and the Cape’s humans. According to MassWildlife and the Massachusetts Environmental Police, “people were actively seeking the animal in a narrow geographic area (severely limiting the bear’s options for movement).” While the Cape Cod bear had shown no aggression toward humans, any animal that is unable to escape imposed contact may react by attacking. (Humans, too!)
On Monday, June 11th, the bear had left Provincetown and headed back to Truro. “Sure as you were born,” said a Truro resident of an encounter with the bear, “there was the most beautiful big black bear coming up the side of the hill.” Later, the bear was seen on Gull Pond Road in Wellfleet, where members of the Large Animal Unit of the Environmental Police shot him with a tranquilizer dart and carried him off.
The bear was given an ear tag for monitoring purposes, weighed and examined. Officials say he appears to be a healthy young male under two years of age. He was transported to an undisclosed location in Central Massachusetts and released in an area where he may be able to find a mate.
The bear population of Massachusetts has risen from a low of around 100 in the 1970s to around 3,000 today, and sightings are on the rise.
“If you see one, enjoy the fact that you’ve seen a black bear. As with any wildlife, enjoy them from a distance, and if in your house, make noise. As big as bears are, they are typically scared of people.”
– Laura Hadjuk, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Metro West Daily News, 2010
For more on the peregrinations of the Cape Cod bear, watch this CapeCast video: