Wednesday, June 27, 2012

News: Black Bear & Moose Visit Eastern MA

A nice little treat for those out east.


It was a wild Monday in the suburbs west of Boston, with reports of a black bear ambling down by the Charles River in Needham and sightings of a 600-pound moose racing through backyards and across streets in Wellesley.

“Unbelievable! He got up on his hinds, he was big,” said Needham resident Walter Hasenfus, who spotted the bear in the woods behind the Charles River Landing luxury apartments on Second Avenue. “He was right on the edge of the banks, he was just moseying along, didn’t have a care in the world.”

When the bear saw Hasenfus, it stood up on its hind legs and stared him down for about five seconds before dropping back down and heading north along the river. The bear, said Hasenfus, appeared to be taller than his own nearly six-foot frame.

“I’m still excited over it,” he said of his bear encounter shortly before 1 pm Monday.

Later in the afternoon, Regis Price, 12, of Wellesley, was less pleased to find herself just 30 yards away from a moose in her neighbor’s backyard.

“All of a sudden, I see this big animal galloping away. It was tall and skinny and its legs had really big knee bones. It was weird. I just started screaming,” she said. “I wasn’t scared, I just wanted someone to get it.”

Authorities in both towns searched for the creatures Monday afternoon, but without success.

The suburban sightings follow a rash of similar wildlife reports across the state — coyotes, of course, and more recently, black bears. One particularly adventurous bear spent weeks roaming Cape Cod, romping through cranberry bogs and backyards and spawning bear-themed T-shirts before being tranquilized in Wellfleet.

A bear was spotted in a few yards around Norwood Saturday night, according to local police. And State Environmental Police investigated reports of a black bear in the woods along Route 109 in Dedham Sunday morning. Officers did not locate the bear, and officials speculated it had moved on.

There is no way to know if it’s the same animal spotted in Needham, said Reggie Zimmerman, spokesman for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

“It’s possible, but I can’t really say definitively,” he said. “Bears do travel great distances, they are capable of that.”

One possible reason for the recent uptick in bears-about-town: the bears are out looking for that special someone.

It’s black bear mating season, said Zimmerman, and the young males are striking off in search of their own patch of land to call home.

“They’re searching for a mate,” he said. “They’re like teenagers.”

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