DEEP Applauds the Passage of Senate Bill 1148 by the General Assembly
(HARTFORD) –Commissioner Dykes Statement on the Passage of SB 1148:
“DEEP is pleased that SB 1148 passed the House and the Senate with strong bipartisan support and appreciates the General Assembly’s engagement on the critically important issue of rising human-bear conflicts this session. SB 1148 is an important step that will enhance public safety and help address the dramatic increase in dangerous human-bear conflicts. It also provides DEEP with more tools to help address the issue.
Humans feeding bears is the primary cause of bear habituation, which in turn can lead to home entries and dangerous human-bear interactions. Banning the intentional feeding of potentially dangerous wildlife will help residents understand their responsibility to protect people, pets, and bears by preventing bears from threatening neighborhoods in their search for food. Statutory clarity on the right to protect oneself and others when in danger from a bear is critically important, as is providing farmerswith recourse to protect livestock, crops, and apiaries from bears causing repeated damage, despite farmers’ exhausting efforts to implement non-lethal deterrents.
As we move into the summer, bears will continue to be active, and public awareness about how to live responsibly around black bears remains critically important. Education remains a key tool in our toolkit, and the Department will continue working hard to educate the public about how to live responsibly around black bears and minimize the intentional and unintentional feeding of bears. This education includes resources and information readily available on the Living with Black Bears section of the DEEP website (Living with Black Bears (ct.gov)) and through BearWise (www.bearwise.org), continued community outreach and education programs, continued messaging through traditional and social media channels, and more.”