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Police Having a Bear of a Time

The next time you go into your backyard you may be in for a surprise — black bear sightings are on the rise in Greenwich.

Police said that on Thursday morning a woman reported a large bear in her backyard near her swimming pool. Since July, the police have had six bear sightings near Riversville Road and John Street.

"It's disconcerting in the suburbs when you see a bear in your backyard," said Lt. Kraig Gray, the department's spokesman. "We have been receiving black bear sightings each year for the last several years, but this year there appears to be more."

Police said because of the location and similar descriptions of the several hundred pound bear, it might be the same animal. If residents see a bear, police suggest reporting it to the Department of Environmental Protection.

The DEP notes on its site that bears have wandered into heavily populated residential areas in recent years. They suggest making birdfeeders, pet food and garbage inaccessible and keeping pets indoors at night. And never attempt to feed a bear, which may make it become a "problem bear."

Because the probability of a bear attacking a human is very low, reporting a bear sighting will not automatically bring out the DEP to remove the animal.

"Be smart, it's a wild animal, don't approach it," said Gray. "If a bear is acting aggressively or out of the ordinary, call the police and we will come out and do our best."

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