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Bear shot in Newtown, leaving behind cubs: Police

A female bear was shot in Newtown on Thursday and the surviving bear cubs were left in the area since it's in their home range, police said.

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Police in Newtown and environmental officials are investigating the fatal shooting of a bear, which left two surviving bear cubs.

A female bear was shot in Newtown on Thursday and the surviving bear cubs are currently in the area since it's in their home range, police and environmental officials said.

Ridgefield police confirmed one of their officers who was off-duty at the time was involved in the shooting but did not provide additional details.

RELATED: Bear roams Waterbury neighborhood

Officials will monitor the bear cubs. In the meantime, the First Selectman of Newtown is working with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to get a permit to rehabilitate the bear cubs with a wildlife specialist, police added later Friday morning.

The bear was named Bobbi by a local Facebook community, who has been following the tagged bear for years, as the Facebook page was made in June 2018. Community members would post photos of Bobbi stopping by backyards in the Redding, Bethel and Newtown area, and would recognize her by her tag: No. 217.

"Bobbi was, I considered her a neighbor," said Elissa Altman of Newtown. "She was a regular on my street. We used to see her in the backyard, at the bird feeder. Pretty much every season."

Facebook group "Save Bobbi's Cubs" has since been formed in the wake of Bobbi's death in an effort to help her two cubs. In the group, community members are sharing memories of Bobbi the bear and are also trying to keep track of the cubs.

"They're very small, they were up in a tree on my property when their mother was killed. they didn't come down for hours. They were up there waiting for their
mama to come home," said Lauren Black of Newtown.

DEEP is searching for witnesses to the incident. Witnesses are asked to call them at 860-424-3011.

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People are asked to never feed bears and to avoid keeping food outside. Officials also say to take down the birdfeeders until late fall, keep garbage in secure, airtight containers, and keep an eye on pets when they are outside.

In the case of a bear sighting, DEEP encourages folks to report the sighting online. DEEP encourages those who want to help the cubs to share their list of resources and facts about black bears.

It’s illegal to hunt or trap bears in Connecticut, though a person may kill a bear in self-defense and state law also allows the killing of a bear deemed a public health or safety threat.

RELATED: Black bear found stuck inside car in Cornwall

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Leah Myers is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at lmyers@fox61.com

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Have a story idea or something on your mind you want to share? We want to hear from you! Email us at newstips@fox61.com