Two black bear cubs are settling into their new home at a Connecticut wildlife rehabilitation facility after their mother was killed last week by an off-duty police officer.
Environmental conservation police are investigating the mother bear's killing last week in Newtown, but haven't released details. Police in Ridgefield, about 20 miles away, said an off-duty officer from their department was involved in the shooting, but did not elaborate and referred questions to state officials.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said Tuesday the cubs are in good health at the Kilham Bear Center. The agency said wildlife authorities had changed their mind about letting the cubs remain in the wild over "concerns for their safety due to the risk of continued public interaction."
The cubs were orphaned last week when their mother, known as "Bobbi the Bear," was shot in Newtown. Bobbi was easily identifiable by her ear tags and was popular among local residents, who posted sightings of her on Facebook.
Annie Hornish, Connecticut's director of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement that the two orphaned cubs were too young to survive in the wild on their own.
The cubs could be seen climbing on a structure made of logs at the rehabilitation facility in a photo posted on the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Facebook page. The agency said the bears had been found in a tree and were captured using a tranquilizer.
"Wildlife biologists want to let everyone know the cubs arrived safely at the rehabilitation facility and seem to be settling in," the agency wrote on Facebook.
Connecticut law bans the killing of bears, except in self-defense when someone believes the animal is going to kill or seriously injure a person.
Black bears are becoming increasingly common in Connecticut as the population continues to grow and expand, according to the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. In 2019, approximately 7,300 bear sightings from 150 of the state's 169 towns were reported to the agency's wildlife division.
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