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Mother Bear Killed - Cubs Left Behind

Please make ONE CALL TODAY to protest the killing of a mother bear by a police officer in the Lake Wanda section of Highland Lakes this past Wednesday. This bear was a lactating female with cubs of the year. Unless we start protesting the killings of these bears, it will never stop. Make your call TODAY!

Please call the non-emergency number of the Vernon Police department and politely state your outrage at the police shooting of a female bear on Wednesday, June 18. Use the facts below to state your case.

Photo of a mother bear with cubs taken on May 21, 2008 in Wawayanda State Park. At this time, we do not know if she was killed.

More info:
1. According to reports we received, the 6 month old cubs were not captured at the time of the shooting. Cubs are with their mothers for 18-24 months for a very good reason. At this time, we do not know how many cubs were left orphaned. The Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is stating that depending on their size, they can survive on their own. Observations have shown us this is not true. Cub mortality is 30% even with their mothers, so it is doubtful these cubs of the year will survive on their own without human intervention or being adopted by another mother bear. While we have seen adoptions take place, there is no guarantee this will happen. If you want more factual information on nursing cubs, please write to Angi at [email protected] . Return e-mails will be available tonight.

2. Garbage is a serious problem in Lake Wanda, an area that is 75% surrounded by Wawayanda State Park (see map below). No matter what you have heard about Lake Wanda, most of its residents are used to seeing black bears and are peacefully co-existing with them. Until people take care of their attractants, bears will continue to be drawn to this area.

This is the area where the bear was killed:

3. Hearing about bears all the time? The DFW is working full time, at the taxpayers expense, to institute an annual bear hunt. Bear slander is at an all time high. Bears reports and warnings are being issued continuously in various areas around the state. All of this is to frighten people and garner support for a bear hunt.

4. FACTS ABOUT MOTHER BEARS: "A big revelation to me was how reluctant black bear mothers are to defend their cubs against people, even when the family is cornered in a den and I'm trying to stick the mother with a needle to tranquilize her. Defense of cubs is more a grizzly bear trait. [there are no grizzlies in NJ] There is no record of anyone being killed by a mother black bear defending her cubs, and attacks are very rare. We routinely capture black bear cubs in the presence of mothers and have never been attacked." - Lynn Rogers, Ph.D., world renown black bear expert: Two recent news stories about bears:

Wildlife authorities to attempt capture of 13 bears in Branchville

by Jim Lockwood/The Star-Ledger
Thursday June 19, 2008, 7:08 PM

State wildlife authorities will try Friday to capture and "aversively condition" the three female black bears and 10 cubs that have taken up residence in recent weeks in Branchville.

The 13 bruins, which include a mother bear with five cubs, another sow with three cubs and a third mama bear with two cubs, have been seen several times in the past three weeks in the center of the 1/2-square-mile borough, and near homes and businesses, Branchville Mayor Gerald Van Gorden told the state Division of Fish & Wildlife today in a letter.

The mayor and council members are skittish about the bruins because of a mother bear's protective nature of her cubs.

They think the bears are too close for comfort and fear it's only a matter of time until one of the sows goes into protective mode and has a bad encounter with a person. Calling it an "extremely dangerous situation," Van Gorden "demanded" the division trap and remove the bears from the borough Friday.

"The mothers of these cubs are extremely protective, which should be a red flag to remove these bears from this highly-populated area immediately," Van Gorden wrote. "The mayor and council are demanding that your office send representation to capture and relocate these bears immediately before someone is severely injured."

Darlene Yuhas, a DEP spokeswoman, said the division received a call about a sighting of the sow with five cubs on Monday. But the trio of sows and their cubs are not considered nuisance bears by the division, as they have not done anything other than show up at various spots in town, she said.

However, because of the concerns of borough officials and residents, the division will try Friday to trap the bears and give them "aversive conditioning" to make them stay farther away from town and people, Yuhas said. But the bruins will not be physically relocated outside of town, she said.

"We understand residents might be concerned," Yuhas said. But, "We don't have any information that these bears are exhibiting any nuisance behavior. The department doesn't consider bear sightings to be a problem."

Meanwhile, a female bear was shot and killed by police in the Paddock Lane area of the Lake Wanda section of Vernon around 9 a.m. Wednesday, when the bruin was found breaking into a garage apparently trying to get at trash, police said. The tagged bruin had broken into several garages in the past few weeks, apparently seeking trash, police said.

Town Using Trash Cans to Keep Bears at Bay

Published: June 8, 2008


ANGELA ANDOSCA is all too familiar with the banging and grunting sounds that tell her that once again, a bear is raiding the trash cans outside her home here.

“They jump on them and roll them around,” said Ms. Andosca, 73, a secretary for the township’s recycling department.

She said that later this summer she plans to get one of the free “bear proof” trash cans that town officials are distributing. Officials passed out 3,000 cans late last year to 1,500 households, and another batch of 1,200 cans will be given out in August as part of a program intended to keep bears away from residential areas.

When state residents call in a bear sighting, they usually say the bear was trying to get into their garbage cans, officials said. By making it harder for bears to get what’s inside, officials hope to discourage them from coming around.

The cans were purchased with a $200,000 grant from the State Department of Environmental Protection and distributed to areas of town most often visited by bears.

Animal rights advocates like Janet Piszar, director of the West Milford-based Bear Education and Resource Group, hope that the cans will also eliminate the need for more state-sanctioned bear hunts, like those organized in 2003 and 2005. “Once bears learn there’s edible food in there, but they can’t get to it, they’ll ignore it,” she said.

Bear sightings have been reported recently in Paramus, Paterson, West Orange and Millburn. Darlene Yuhas, a D.E.P. spokeswoman, said the attraction of bears to household trash “continues to be an issue.”

The cans were tested last year in Ocean County, at the Popcorn Park Zoo in Forked River. One of the containers was put in a pen holding four black bears weighing 150 to 300 pounds, said John Bergmann, the zoo’s director.

The can was filled with salmon, tuna and jelly, Mr. Bergmann said. “It was real interesting, because they smelled it and they wanted to get into it,” he said. “But after not getting into it they kind of lost interest.”

Patti Sowka, who works for the State of Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks department, coordinated a similar testing program with 300-to-800-pound grizzlies. “If a container can survive a 600-pound griz, chances are it can withstand a black bear too,” she said.

The bear population in New Jersey ranges from 1,500 to 3,000, officials say. In 2003, after a 33-year moratorium on bear hunting, 328 bears were killed. Two years later, 298 were killed, despite tens of thousands of state residents signing petitions of protest against the hunting.

Edward A. Tavss, a chemistry professor at Rutgers University, wrote a report in 2005 after researching countrywide statistics on methods of reducing bear and human encounters. “Hunting, shockingly, surprisingly, had no effect whatsoever,” Dr. Tavss said, but when trash was kept sealed from bears the encounters “went down dramatically.”

The Connecticut company that manufactures them for West Milford, DAWG Inc., began making them in 2004 at the request of the BEAR Group. The cans, now called BEARier Bins, were sold privately at first, until West Milford decided to contract with the company.

No one claims the new cans are 100 percent bear-proof, but residents here, who have lived with bear sightings for years, seem to like them. Various versions of the cans can be spotted on the streets on trash collection days. Brian Townsend, 49, has a set of one of the earlier cans, and the lid of one has a large rip through it that he said was made by a hungry bear.

“Most aren’t that persistent,” he said of that bear. He said he sees fewer bears in his yard now than he did before he got the cans, which have screw-on tops.

West Milford’s mayor, Bettina Bieri, said there are no penalties for not using the cans properly, but she does not anticipate that problem. “Our residents have a high awareness of living with bears,” she said. “We live in bear country.”
New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance (NJARA)
PO Box 174
Englishtown, NJ 07726
New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance is NJ's only statewide animal rights organization. NJARA has been advancing the rights of animals for 25 years through advocacy, public education and legislation. Visit us at

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