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Police warn residents in Medford, Burlington after bear sightings

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 12/14/2018 By Andres Picon

Police in Burlington and Medford are urging residents to take precautions after multiple sightings of black bears rummaging through people’s back yards Thursday and Friday.

A bear allegedly damaged some bird feeders outside homes in a residential neighborhood in the area of Francis Wyman Road and the Middlesex Turnpike in Burlington early Thursday morning, police said in a Facebook post.

Police are asking residents to remove bird feeders, pet food, trash, and food scraps on grills to avoid attracting bears.

A bear was seen in the area of 114 Lincoln Rd. in Medford around 2:45 a.m. Friday. A resident called police after they heard noises coming from the back yard, near the trash. An officer arrived and shone his flashlight on the medium-sized black bear, which had wandered into a neighbor’s yard. The bear took off into the woods in the direction of Damon Road, Medford police said in a Facebook post.

Out of concern for the safety of residents and bears, police ask that people avoid looking for or chasing bears. Posting about a bear sighting on social media or telling other people to go to a certain location to see the bear could quickly draw large crowds, which could frighten the animals and make them feel cornered or threatened, which could prompt them to run into traffic or toward people.

“If the bear or any person were to get injured it will most likely be a result of the action(s) of a person or group of people doing something they shouldn’t be doing,” Burlington police said in their post. “Eastern Black Bear[s] do not attack people or animals under any normal circumstances.”

In October, a large crowd gathered under a pair of bears that had made their way up a tree in Amesbury, which discouraged them from coming down. Environmental Police tranquilized the bears and moved them to a wooded area, officials said.

Bears are no strangers to the Burlington area. Shoppers and diners in the area of South, Second and Third avenues got a glimpse of a black bear between 6 and 7 p.m. last Saturday. The “Burlington Bear,” as it has become known, was seen again Monday night behind the Barnes & Noble on the Middlesex Turnpike, police said.

The bear even has its own Twitter page.

In Medford, which is about eight miles from Burlington, bears are not so common.

“I’ve been here 12 years and it’s the first time I’ve heard about a bear,” said a Medford police official who declined to give his name.

Residents should contact police or their local animal control officer if they see a bear, and call 911 if they feel threatened by the bear, police said.

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