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Long Lake residents mourn black bear shot by DEC

This 90-pound yearling black bear in downtown Long Lake was shot and killed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation because it was being a nuisance and getting too close to humans because people were feeding it.

This 90-pound yearling black bear in downtown Long Lake was shot and killed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation because it was being a nuisance and getting too close to humans because people were feeding it. Christine LaRocque

— Colleen Smith is so upset that an environmental conservation officer killed a black bear here that she’s writing a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, requesting an investigation into the incident.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) staff shot the 90-pound, female yearling Sept. 25 after classifying it as a nuisance bear. But Smith didn’t agree with the decision.

“That bear was not a nuisance; it was considered a joy,” Smith said. “They want to vilify these animals; it has polarized this town.”

Smith recalled living through the days when bears routinely patrolled garbage dumps in the Adirondacks and said that the animals never posed a threat to humans.

But some bears in the park, like the one recently shot, are still getting a free meal even though the dump days are long gone.

“I took care of that little bear because no one else wanted to take care of it,” said Bernadett Morrissey, who lives on South Hill Road in downtown Long Lake.

Morrissey fed the bear a mixture of milk and maple syrup after it showed up on her property about five months ago.

“That little thing came to the house, and it was crying and crying,” Morrissey said.

The bawling bear enjoyed the easy meal and began to frequent her yard, so Morrissey started to prepare nightly feasts for it, sometimes offering big bowls of macaroni and potatoes.

Soon, the animal made itself comfortable.

“I have an opening under my porch, and that bear at nighttime would come, and he’d get underneath there and sleep,” Morrissey said.

Morrissey said she called Tupper Lake-based state troopers, who said they would come out and shoot it, but she didn’t like that idea, so she kept feeding it.

And then, to her surprise, a DEC environmental conservation officer showed up with a firearm on Sept. 25 and walked onto her property, where the bear was sitting.

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Comments

mynatureapps 1 year, 10 months ago

Ms. Smith essentially killed this bear herself when she took it upon herself to continually feed it. If Gov Cuomo does anything it should be to make sure she is fined to the fullest extent that the law allows.

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