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NJ DEP: 'Exit 8 bear' had to be removed for driver safety

blackbear042211_optBY PAT SUMMERS
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

"Whenever a bear is in a situation where it could cause public concern or it’s a public safety issue, DEP responds,” Larry Ragonese, press officer for the Department of Environmental Protection, said during a phone conversation yesterday.

He was answering a series of questions about the “Exit 8 bear,” who was tranquilized and removed from a tree near the turnpike last Friday, then relocated to the Assunpink wildlife management area.

Nearby drivers, who could see the bear perched in the tree, were distracted, Ragonese said, and to prevent traffic tie-ups or accidents, he had to be moved. That was a job for a DEP “conservation team” – a biologist and a conservation officer.

Accustomed to checking out situations when “urban bears” appear in New Brunswick or Morristown, for instance, the team drove to the scene in a truck equipped for most eventualities. As a yearling, this particular bear – eventually identified by either his lip tattoo or ear tag – had been relocated a few times last year.

Patrick Carr, a supervising wildlife biologist who manages the conservation teams, had by now taken over from Ragonese on the Q&A.

He said that with breeding season approaching, larger adult males drive out sub-adults – like “Exit 8 bear” – who then must find their own territory. Black bears don’t reach adulthood until age four, he indicated.

Carr mentioned that the state has set up travel and dispersal corridors for bears along waterways, which is why protecting adjacent areas is so important. Bears make the most of even small slivers of habitat, he said, describing the Assunpink area as “a large tract of habitat, with lots of food sources and a blending of forest areas with under-story base.”

In other words, “Exit 8 bear” may have moved up in the world.

The website for the Division of Fish and Wildlife in the Dept. of Environmental Protection is www.FishandWildlife.com. Click on the black bear for information.

Freelancer Pat Summers also blogs at www.AnimalBeat.blogspot.com.

 
Comments (3)
3 Sunday, 24 July 2011 11:41
B. Honest
Angie Metler should tell people about her frequent arrests and that she is profiled by the Anti Defamtaion League as an extremist. They should know her history before listening to what she has to say. http://www.adl.org/learn/extremism_in_america_updates/movements/ecoterrorism/ecoterrorism_update_041210.htm
2 Saturday, 23 April 2011 08:12
Modesty Press
I support the right to arm bears.
1 Friday, 22 April 2011 19:10
Angi Metler
This reader is pleased the story had a happy ending for the motorists as well as the young bear found in a tree on the New Jersey Turnpike.

However, his future is threatened, as the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, as late as 2006, have Assunpink Wildlife Management Area within their proposed black bear hunting map, which encompasses most of South Jersey.

Please visit http://aplnj.org/Black-Bears.php and scroll down to "The Division of Fish and Wildlife Black Bear Express" to see the proposed map, as well as a report from 1981, which clearly states that unless the Division relocates black bears from other areas, southern New Jersey will never have a black bear population to hunt.

The Division is on a mission to institutionalize bear hunting throughout New Jersey. If you care about the future of black bears, please get involved by contacting info@aplnj.org.

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