PEABODY — Residents in the city have been advised to be on the lookout for a bear after the Police Department confirmed that there were two sightings in West Peabody last week.
The first sighting occurred on Sept. 14 when a bear was spotted in an area near the bike path and Glen Drive in the morning. Later that day, the bear was spotted in backyards near Birch Street and America Drive.
“He looked like a healthy, young bear. There are a lot of bears in Massachusetts right now and this is a natural thing, they are just looking for food,” said Police Chief Tom Griffin, who spotted the bear on all fours while it was crossing Lowell Street. “From what we know from the Environmental Police, they are popping up in all kinds of places and meandering through neighborhoods and any place where they can find food. They are attracted to trash and they especially are attracted to bird feeders.”
Peabody Police posted an update on its Facebook page at 6:36 p.m. Sept. 14, saying that the Massachusetts Environmental Police and Peabody Police “are actively tracking the bear in West Peabody. Please stay inside and do not interfere with the police action. We suggest that you make sure you cover your trash barrels, take in your bird feeders and do not engage with or approach the bear if you see it.”
The post went on to advise residents to call the non-emergency line at the Peabody Police Department at 978-531-1212 to report any sightings.
“I’m never surprised by the things that happen here in Peabody as we have just had a second sighting of a bear in West Peabody in the last couple of months,” Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt, Jr. said in a RoboCall about an hour after the police Facebook post. “Clearly bears have now entered our area and are looking for food sources.”
Bettencourt advised residents to keep their guards up and contact police immediately if they see a bear.
Griffin said after the bear was spotted on Glen Drive, it traveled as far as Willow Bray Drive before making it back to the Presidential Heights neighborhood. As of Sunday afternoon, neither the Environmental Police nor the Peabody Police had been able to locate the animal.
“We hope to be able to tranquilize it and relocate it,” said Griffin. “He’s just meandering his way through backyards at this point. The Environmental Police hope to be able to find him in a tree where [he] is more stationary and they can hit him with a dart, but it’s dangerous because if they miss, the dart contains narcotics and must be found before a kid finds it. Hopefully, he goes away on his own.
“Obviously, the hope is that there is no harm to the bear or to people, but the reality is he could get hit by a car and get hurt or cause harm to the driver, and we certainly don’t want that,” Griffin continued.
Anne Marie Tobin can be reached at [email protected].