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Wandering Cape Cod bear makes trek to Orleans, travels east

By Colin A. Young
Globe Correspondent / June 2, 2012
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Once again, the famous Cape Cod black bear was on the move. Friday morning, the bear was spotted in Orleans, continuing his trek eastward, state wildlife officials said.

The peripatetic black bear has been spotted in numerous Cape towns since Sunday evening and is thought to be the same one that frequented much of southeastern Massachusetts last summer. The animal has been spotted at least 15 times, the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife said.

“He has been almost surprisingly predictable. He has been traveling in a pretty good straight line paralleling [Routes] 6 and 6A,” said Jason Zimmer, the southeast district manager for the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. “At this point, he is getting into situation where if he moves further east, it is going to get more ­developed, and there will be less forest for him to move.”

For now, state wildlife officials plan to monitor the bear’s movements, and they have said they would not remove the animal from the area unless it poses a threat to public safety.

“We kind of don’t know what is going to happen,” said Zimmer. “At this point, there could be more issues with him getting into congested areas or getting close to traffic.”

While bear sightings on the Cape are a rarity, other parts of the state are more accustomed to the furry visitors. At the time of the last estimate, there were about 3,500 bears across the state, Zimmer said.

Friday morning in Tyngsborough, a black bear was spotted near a school bus stop at ­Scribner and Chestnut roads, police said.

“There was a report of a bear in the area where some kids were waiting at a bus stop,” said Tyngsborough police Lieutenant Rich Howe. “We had police cruisers and animal control in the area. The bear was seen about half a mile down the road about half an hour later and hasn’t been seen since.”

Howe said that bear sightings are not uncommon in the town and that bears have not shown any aggression to ­humans. To make sure residents are aware of the animals and take the right precautions if they do encounter one, Howe said the department has used social media to alert residents.

In Templeton, officials are monitoring bear activity and telling residents to remove birdfeeders so they don’t attract the animals.

“Our only concern is that they don’t seem to have a fear of humans, so we are trying to ­advise residents to keep away from them and remember that they are wild animals,” said ­Police Chief David Whitaker, “If the circumstances are right, we will shoot them with a bean bag out of a shotgun. It starts teaching them a little respect for ­humans, so when they see ­humans they decide to go the other way.”

In Baldwinville, a village of Templeton, Dianne Lamore said she has seen two different bears in her yard several days this week, including one that doesn’t seem to fear humans.

“I’ve been here 40 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “He is very brave; he doesn’t want to move. I think they are becoming too familiar with the neighborhood.”

Lamore said bears were eating from birdfeeders in the neighborhood, so residents are now removing them. Two days this week, Lamore’s grandson encountered the bear after ­being dropped off by the school bus, she said.

“He just got off the school bus and was walking up the street and the bear was walking towards him,” she said. “The next day he got off at a different street and the bear was there, too.”

Although the bear has not tried to hurt anyone, Lamore said, she has removed the birdfeeders from her yard.

“They are wild animals,” she said. “They just want to eat.”

Colin A. Young can be reached at colin.young@globe.com. ­Follow him on Twitter ­@ColinAYoung.

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