Provincetown Bear Captured

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.

Tranquilized Cape Cod bear

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:

Explore posts in the same categories: 2012, In the Country, Seasons, Spring, Summer, Wildlife/Natural History

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5 Comments on “Provincetown Bear Captured”

  1. Marty Says:

    What an honor and a blessing to have a visit from the Cape Cod bear! As a matter of fact, I started calling him “Blessing” while he was amongst us in Ptown. The fact that people reacted with joy and appreciation instead of fear and aggression gives me hope for the world.

    • I agree – it was really interesting & encouraging that people responded so positively – even if their excitement & desire to see the bear ended up being part of the problem. We will be having more & more human-wildlife interactions, and it’s really up to us humans to make sure those interactions stay positive, and that decisions are made in a rational manner. Sounds like wildlife officials did a good job with the Cape Cod bear – and the community response made that possible.

  2. Barbara Says:

    Love the update on the Cape Cod bear – I hope he finds a mate. It’s so hard for the wild now that humans are spread everywhere, and we don’t adapt nearly as well as they do – witness the coyotes in the Bronx that caused an uproar, raccoons everywhere, deer using the greens of golf courses where their habitat used to be as their lunch table… people generally don’t get along with wildlife… such a pity. It’s ours to share and enjoy, not fear and eliminate.

    Hope this youngster gets a real chance and finds a young female ready to mate, but Retrieverman may have it right – if that youngster figured the Cape is home, it’ll be back.

    Wonderful post Melissa – so glad you’re back online – have missed you, but then I’ve been away as well… you’ve inspired me to get back to writing about things I care about… thanks for that!

  3. retrieverman Says:

    Black bears have massive territories. They also home very well, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he came back.

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