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Wild Bear With Large Social Media Following Euthanized After Getting Hit By Vehicle In Easton, Connecticut

EASTON, Conn (CBSNewYork) -- There is sadness at the death of a wild bear that had a large following on social media.

Thousands tracked the bear's travels and exploits on Facebook as he roamed the northern suburbs, CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Wednesday.

"Bear 211," named for the tags placed on his ears by state environmental officials, prowled the wooded areas of Westchester County and Connecticut for weeks.

His frequent visits to suburban backyards were documented on a dedicated Facebook page with almost 5,000 followers.

bear 211 dies aiello
(Credit: CBS2)

"I think the bear was very charismatic. It was not that afraid of humans," said Easton, Connecticut Police Chief Rich Doyle. "It would be swimming in people's pools, playing on their swing set, things like that."

Doyle said the black bear was critically injured Monday when it was struck by a vehicle on Route 136.

"It had some broken legs and it was barely breathing when my officers got there." Doyle said.

State environmental officials directed that the bear be euthanized. Its many fans shared sadness on social media.

"He gave us short little moments of innocence in our crazy busy lives," one follower wrote.

"Sweet Bear 211, in your short time here you left your paw prints on our hearts," wrote another.

For all the sadness at the fate of Bear 211, some are not surprised. They feared his comfort level around humans would lead to trouble.

Bears and other wildlife are a focus at Earthplace Nature Center in Westport.

"We are living with nature. We all need to coexist," said Becky Newman, director of nature programs.

Newman said that means respecting boundaries by not inviting or encouraging interaction with black bears, which can diminish their natural fear of humans and vehicles.

"I'm hoping that the takeaway can be that we respect nature and wildlife from a distance and we can coexist with them without trying to make them our pets and our projects," said Newman.

Members of the Facebook page that tracked Bear 211 are raising money for a sculpture of him to be placed at a wildlife rehabilitation center.

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