What's Black And Spotted All Over? The Cape Cod Bear

For the last few days, Cape Cod residents have been on Wandering Bear Watch.

It all started over Memorial Day Weekend, with reported sightings of a young black bear roaming around Sandwich and Barnstable. On Monday, a West Barnstable 13-year-old shot this video, which was obtained by the Cape Cod Times:

Bears are extremely rare on Cape Cod. Jason Zimmer, southeast district supervisor with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, told the Times that this current bear "is the second one spotted in Southeastern Massachusetts in 50 years."

One clear reason for the Cape's bear rarity: There's a canal that separates it from the mainland.

But Zimmer told the Times that "[b]ears are very good swimmers and it could swim across the canal without any problem." (That's one way to beat the Sagamore Bridge traffic backup.)

And the bear has extended its long weekend on the Cape. Since the initial sightings, the bear, which officials believe came from Middleborough in an effort to find its mate, has been spotted in Yarmouth Port and Dennis. On Thursday it was seen farther east, in Brewster.

And the bear, following in the footsteps of other famous on-the-move animals such as the Bronx Zoo Cobra, showed up on Twitter, too. @BearSwimmer opened its witty tweeting with:

Sick weekend on Cape Cod, dig this place, might stay a while

Wildlife officials normally allow a bear to roam free as long as it isn't a public safety threat, but they are cautioning residents not to approach the bear and to report sightings to police.

Of course, you can follow it on Twitter, too, but we'll pass along the Cape Cod Times' caution:

A disclaimer: The bear has a mature sense of humor probably not appropriate for cubs.

This program aired on May 31, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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