Environment

North Shore black bear shot and killed after eating resident’s goats and chickens

State law allows residents to kill bears that are caught in the act of damaging property.

A Middleton resident shot and killed a black bear Friday morning after it killed some livestock. 

The bear, an adult male, had killed two goats on the property around 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

The 80-pound animal then returned to the property at 8:30 a.m. Friday and killed eight chickens, according to 7 News. The resident saw the bear attacking the chickens, then shot the bear and called the police.

According to the report, the bear is believed to be the same one that has roamed other North Shore communities in recent months. Middleton is about 20 miles north of Boston. 

Under state law, residents may kill bears that are actively causing damage to their property. No charges were announced in connection to Friday’s incident. 

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Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) says black bears killing chickens and damaging coops is a common source of human-bear conflict in the state — especially as residential coops rise in popularity. MassWildlife and the MEP say they get calls about bears breaking into chicken coops daily.

Environmental officials say chicken wire won’t keep bears out and that electric fencing is the only way to protect chickens from bears. 

There are estimated to be over 4,500 black bears in Massachusetts. Though typical to the central and western parts of the state, black bears have been roaming further east in recent years, now becoming a common sight near the Interstate 495 corridor.

Environmental officials won’t usually intervene if there is a bear sighting. However, if a resident believes a bear is a threat to people or property, they should contact a local MassWildlife district office.

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