Orphaned bear cubs captured after mother shot in Conn.

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(Annie Hornish/Humane Society of the United States)

The two bear cubs left orphaned when an off-duty police officer shot their mother in Newtown, Connecticut last week have been captured.

Wildlife officials were eventually able to lure the cubs down from a tree Monday to tranquilize and capture them and move them to a wildlife rehabilitation facility. 

"These frightened animals spent the afternoon high up in a tree, confused by the chaos below them. By evening, both cubs were safely caught, and we were told that they would be on their way to a reputable sanctuary where they can properly be cared for until they are hopefully ready for release when they are old enough to live like adult wild bears," Annie Hornish, Connecticut state director for the Humane Society of the U.S. said. 

The female bar, nicknamed Bonnie, was well known in the community and had been previously tagged.  She was reportedly shot multiple times on May 12, 2022.  It is illegal to kill a bear in Connecticut except in self-defense.

The Ridgefield Police Department issued a statement after the shooting, saying:  "We are aware that one of our officers was involved in an off-duty incident in which a bear was shot and killed in Newtown.  The incident is under investigation by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and we refer all inquiries to them.  We have no further information."

The Humane Society offered tips for people to avoid conflicts with bears: 

• Make trash cans inaccessible. Bring them inside at night or buy a bear-resistant trash can or an enclosure for the container.
• Enclose your compost pile. Open compost piles, especially those that include kitchen scraps, are an irresistible treat in bear country. Burying compost won’t work because bears will easily find and dig it up.
• Recycle wisely. If you store recyclables outside, use enclosed bins. (Persistent bears will break into even ruggedly built bins.)
• Keep your barbecue grill clean and as free of drippings as possible. Move the grill away from your house when you aren’t using it and clean it regularly with ammonia or bleach.
• Rethink your bird feeders. In the summer, birds can make do with naturally available foods. If you do set up feeders, install them away from your house.
• Communities experiencing bear problems can take steps such as fining people who knowingly or unknowingly feed bears, requiring bear-resistant trash cans, distributing educational flyers, and training police and animal control officers in aversive conditioning techniques that use rubber bullets, fireworks, and pepper spray.