Erving PD assist bear cub struck by vehicle on Route 2

By BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer

Published: 07-28-2023 6:55 PM

ERVING — After the Erving Police Department came to the aid of a female bear cub that was struck and injured by a vehicle on Route 2 on Thursday night, the animal is now recovering at Tufts Wildlife Clinic in Grafton.

“The cub is being kept comfortable and is receiving pain medication and supportive care,” Maureen Murray, director of Tufts Wildlife Clinic, wrote in a statement. “Veterinarians are assessing the injuries and will continue to provide treatment and monitor the cub over the coming days.”

At around 7 p.m. on Thursday night, Erving Police Officer Brandon Bryant and Sgt. Adam Paicos were dispatched to Route 2 after receiving a report about the injured cub.

“Officers quickly were encountered on scene by a very protective mama bear concerned about her cub,” Paicos wrote in a statement.

The cub’s hind leg or paw was possibly broken. The Erving officers contacted the Shelburne Control Dispatch Center, which in turn contacted the Kilham Bear Center in Lyme, New Hampshire. The center connected the officers with Dave Wattles, black bear and furbearer biologist for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

By phone, Wattles walked the officers through how to retrieve the bear until he was able to make it Erving to help.

According to Paicos, wearing wildlife gloves to protect himself from claws and teeth, Bryant picked up the injured bear cub and placed her comfortably into a dog crate.

“I was extremely impressed with Brandon having the bravery to pick the bear up and bring it to the kennel,” Police Chief Robert Holst said in a phone interview. “He took it upon himself and executed it successfully and safely.”

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Wattles took the bear cub to Tufts Wildlife Clinic where veterinarians performed a physical exam and took radiographs. The cub will stay at the animal hospital for immediate medical care and likely recovery care, Wattles said.

If there are no complications, the cub will then be brought to the Kilham Bear Center and be released in about a year. Wattles explained the bear will be released at its life stage when it typically leaves the mother and goes off on its own. Much of the Kilham Bear Center’s work involves cubs whose mothers have been killed.

“Being able to save the bear was rare for Erving and rare for the area,” Holst said.

According to Wattles, there are about 40 to 70 annual bear-vehicle collisions in Massachusetts. Typically, the injuries incurred result in the bear being euthanized. They can rarely be rehabilitated.

“It is not something that occurs often enough that we would do training with local police,” Wattles noted.

Wattles advises drivers should reduce their speeds and be alert and aware of animals to avoid hitting wildlife.

Reach Bella Levavi
at 413-930-4579 or
blevavi@recorder.com.

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