A mama black bear popular among locals in a Connecticut neighborhood was gunned down Thursday — and an investigation into the illegal act is underway, a report said.
The bear, known as Bobbi, was fatally shot in Newtown, leaving behind two cubs who are now under the care of local wildlife officials, the Hartford Courant reported.
The State Environmental Conservation Police reportedly kicked off an investigation into the killing of Bobbi, who even had her own social media presence.
Dan Rosenthal, Newtown’s first selectman, told the newspaper that he was “heartbroken over the loss of the bear and the orphaning of the cubs,” and had lobbied for the young bears to be placed in a wildlife rescue.
It is illegal to kill bears in Connecticut except in cases of self defense, and bear attacks are rare in the Constitution State, the newspaper said.
“The tragic and brutal killing of this mother black bear, leaving her orphaned cubs stranded, was preventable and unnecessary,” Annie Hornish, Connecticut’s director of the Humane Society of the United States, told the Courant.
Wildlife officials had urged well-intentioned Newtown residents to keep their distance from the cubs while experts determine their fate.
“We urge people to avoid feeding the bear cubs, and to give them space to continue learning to forage for natural food sources, free from human interference,” Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman Will Healey told the paper.
“Human interaction or feeding the cubs can greatly reduce their chance of survival and will also diminish their natural fear of people, creating potential future danger for the bears and public safety.”