A black bear visited Coventry: 'I've never seen a bear in real life...Oh, my god'

·2 min read
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management posted this image of a black bear by a bird feeder with its advisory on avoiding encounters with the bears.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management posted this image of a black bear by a bird feeder with its advisory on avoiding encounters with the bears.

A black bear that has been making the rounds in Coventry has created a stir.

The Coventry police notified residents about the bear in a Facebook post Monday.

"We have confirmed a reported Black Bear sighting in the Wood Estates, Wisteria Dr area," the police said. "Please keep your kids and animals inside, with your doors and windows locked."

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Facebook users followed the post with advice, jokes, comments about sightings and images of the bear (although one was clearly Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo).

Desiree Martinelli was driving in Hunters' Crossing with her children Anthony, 9, and Francesca, 7, when she spotted the bear in somebody's front yard and captured a video.

The kids were impressed.

"I've never seen a bear in real life," Francesca can be heard saying on the video.

"Oh, my god," Anthony says.

"Oh, my god," Francesca agrees.

"This is the craziest thing that ever happened to me," Francesca says. "I'm so scared, though."

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The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management earlier this month advised residents to remove food sources from their yards "as black bears emerge with warmer weather."

The DEM had eight confirmed black bears sightings between Jan. 11 and May 1, including one sighting each in Exeter, North Smithfield, and Richmond, two in West Warwick, and three in South Kingstown, the DEM said.

Bird feeders, unsecured trash cans and livestock feed can attract hungry bears, the DEM said.

"Black bears are generally shy and unaggressive and will avoid interactions with humans," the DEM said, but the agency notes that they are nevertheless wild animals and become destructive in their search for a meal.

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Male black bears weigh 150 to 450 pounds while females weigh 100 to 250 pounds, the DEM says.

"A bear can't be blamed for riffling through a trash can, but we can certainly change our own behaviors for the safety of both the community and wildlife," DEM Chief Public Information Officer Michael Healey said.

"By teaching bears that backyards are not their personal grocery stores and humans are not vending machines, handing out snacks, we can keep wildlife wild and our communities safe."

jperry@providencejournal.com

(401) 277-7614

On Twitter: @jgregoryperry

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This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Coventry bear sighting: Police say keep kids, pets inside