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A Monday video image posted to Facebook shows the injured bear lying inside a garage with her cub. The bears were getting into trash stored in the garage.
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Residents Concerned About Injured Bear in Northwest Pittsfield

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Community members have rallied in concern over an injured bear wandering northwest Pittsfield into Lanesborough the last few days.

Since late last week, Ward 7 Councilor Rhonda Serre has received several calls about what appears to be a mama bear with a broken leg traveling near St. Joseph Cemetery to outer Hancock Road and Churchill Road with her cub. 

Home-security camera videos have also been posted to social media depicting the duo, including footage on a Lanesborough community Facebook page.

Serre is concerned about an injured bear being in a residential neighborhood, both for the safety of residents and the bear. She noted that as kind human beings, we have the responsibility of helping if possible and an injured bear is an angry bear.

"I would just like to find a way for her to be rehabbed and let back out into the wild," she said. "Because it's very obvious it's not just a little booboo on her foot."

MassWildlife's Black Bear Project leader Dave Wattles urged residents not to interfere, such as providing aid or food. He reported there is "really not a facility in the state" that can treat the bear but said they have an amazing ability to heal on their own.

"Unfortunately, there are a lot of vehicle collisions with bears where they end up with potentially a broken leg or a leg injury," he said. "Unfortunately, people also will shoot up bears for various reasons so there's a number of reasons that they can potentially have these injuries."

Serre has been contacted by seven or eight constituents showing pictures and videos of the bear, who is seen limping and not able to put pressure on her right front leg. She noted that they seem to have a pattern, during the day going up a hill in the area and then coming down.

"It seems like [her cub] is scavenging for her," she said. "She will lay down and he will go in and get the garbage bags."

There was a new spotting near Brooks Avenue on Monday. A Ring camera video posted on Sunday shows the two entering a Pittsfield garage and snacking on garbage and the injured bear lying down.

The Pittsfield Police Department responded by email on Tuesday afternoon if they had had any reports about the bear.

"Our dispatch has received several calls over the last week in regards to an injured black bear with what RP's say is a broken leg," wrote Capt. Matthew Hill. "It has been seen on Brooks Ave. in Pittsfield several times and yesterday it was in the area of Capeless School. [Monday] was trash day in that area, and more than likely, it is getting into the trash left out."
 
He said Environmental Police and Mass Wildlife were both notified and are aware of the situation. Police are advising citizens to contact Mass Wildlife at 413-684-1646 but if there appears to be public safety issue related to the bear, they should contact the Police Department at 911 for any emergency or 413-448-9700 for non-emergencies. 

Wattles said it is common to get reports of injured bears. MassWildlife had not heard about this bear but was alerted of an injured bear in Adams last week.

While one person in the office wondered if it could have even the same animal but he said it is likely not because Adams is a bit of a stretch.


"The public often wants to know if the bear can be helped. Unfortunately for bears, with the exception really of cubs of the year that are very small, it's really not possible to rehab them," Wattles said.

"Just the idea that you would be doing some sort of orthopedic, you know, aid to this animal and then keeping it still for that time to heal."

Though there is hope, he reported, because if the bear is mobile it can find food and "do just fine."

"We will often get reports in the community for years of a bear with a limp," he said. "So they have an amazing ability to deal with even very severe injuries."

Wattles referenced a hopeful story of a female MassWildlife has tracked for well over a decade. When she was first found, she essentially had a shattered hind leg and has survived since — becoming quite a well-fed bear and giving birth to multiple litters.

"She is still perfectly capable of surviving and we've tracked her with a GPS collar and you wouldn't know anything from the movements on the collar that she was any different from any other bear," he said.

"So these injuries can either heal entirely or the bear can deal with them as long as they can get along."

He emphasized that the public is constantly asked not to feed bears, to remove bird feeders, to secure garbage, and to use an electric fence to keep bears away from chickens and bees.

"It really is important for the health of the bears and to prevent conflict with the public that people actually take that messaging seriously," Wattles said.

Updated at 4 p.m. with PPD response.


Tags: bears,   MassWildlife,   

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Pittsfield Street Improvement Project: June 24-28

PITTSFIELD, Mass. —  The city's street improvement work continues next week with the following schedule in place:
 
• Monday 6/24 – Milling Cascade Street
• Tuesday 6/25 – First course of paving on Cascade Street
• Wednesday 6/26 - Friday 6/28 – Raising structures on Fourth Street, Curtis Street, Brown Street
 
On-street parking is prohibited during this work between the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 
Use caution when traveling on these roads. This schedule is subject to change based upon weather conditions.
 
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