a picture of a black bear

Bear-ly a threat, but caution urged

A black bear has been making a Memorial Day weekend voyage up through the Route 58 corridor, and was last spotted in Hanson moving northward. It hasn’t been seen in Abington yet, but residents are encouraged to be safe.

“It’s important to leave the bear alone if people see it,” Deputy Police Chief Chris Cutter said. “It’s a special treat to see a bear in the wild, but people shouldn’t try to take a ‘selfie’ with it.”

The bear was first spotted in Carver earlier this week, and has since made appearances in Halifax and Hanson.

“So BooBoo the bear has been spotted crossing Spring Street (Rt 58),” the Hanson Police Department posted on its Facebook page Friday jight. “Please bring in your bird feeders and stay clear of BooBoo. He appears to be heading north to more hospitable territory.”

Cutter said black bear attacks on humans are rare, that the bears tend to be more afraid of humans, and will typically turn back into the woods when spotted.

“If you do find yourself in the same general area as the bear stay calm, stand and face the bear, make yourself appear as large as possible and make a lot of noise, don’t run away,” he said. “If a black bear does attack, it’s suggested you fight back.”

Bears have a very sensitive sense of smell and are attracted to bird feeders, trash, grills, picnic baskets, and other outdoor food sources.

“If the bear is eating things around your property you should remove the food source,” Cutter said.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife says to keep dogs controlled and prevent a crowd from gathering, as it may spook the bear.

Bear sightings should be called in to the Abington Police Department. Depending on its location and behavior, Abington Police may then request assistance from the Mass. Environmental Police.

Its been decades since Abington has had to worry about a non-hockey-related bear.

“I don’t ever remember having to think about a bear in Abington,” Cutter said, adding jokingly, “[a] mad dog in the 70’s, but that’s all.”

Back in 1976, Abington drew headlines when a large black “killer” dog was found attacking two ponies on a farm off Route 58. It was spotted roaming around the area for a few days, including by the Summer Street railroad crossing, and reportedly resulted in a 1,000 calls to Abington police before it just disappeared. The incident was revisisted as part of the 2013 “Bridgewater Triangle” documentary.

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