Monday, June 20, 2011


Black bear in Metuchen tree causes stir in quiet town

Union Township Police shoot and kill black bear near high school

I'm four blocks from the Union line & a couple of miles from the high school. directly up Morris Ave,  two blocks away.

Union & Metuchen are both densely populated suburban towns.

This local invasion of black bears didn't happen overnight. It took about four decades. I went to a Boy Scout camp in north Jersey that had some wild forest around it. You could get seriously lost & some hapless campers did. There were a few bears around, but we didn't expect to encounter them & I never saw one. We were very careful with food, more because of skunks than bears.

A few years later I went to college in North Jersey about 15 miles east of that camp, & resided in Pompton Plains, a suburban town south of the school. By then  black bears were occasionally spotted nosing around garbage cans in residential areas up that way, but it wasn't a common occurance. Within a decade it became common. The bear population was growing. Bears are territorial, & every subsequent spring saw young bear spreading out, mostly following the wooded river pathways. Then the bear paths became local creeks, parks, golf courses, & the buffer zones next to highways. Finding food poses no problem for the bears; Jersey is a cornucopia of discarded food. They want space, & if humans are already occupying it, tough,  When a young bear in suburbia is tranq'd & relocated back to the woods of northwest Jersey, it's in some bigger, older  bear's territory, & the young bear starts  the journey all over again.

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The Union black bear may be the same guy who was walking along the Route 22 corridor for the past 2 months. A young bear was sighted in Berkeley Heights, Springfield and the Watchung Reservation.
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