MassWildlife has debunked an online rumor that a black bear was shot and killed last evening in the town of Pembroke.

“No, it’s not true,” Jason Zimmer, District Manager for MassWildlife, told WBSM. “We confirmed the bear is alive and well.”

In a public Facebook post that went up at 6:27 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14, Pembroke resident Bryan McKenna wrote, “Environmental police just shot the bear across the street from my house.”

McKenna later commented “(Environmental Police) took three shots” and stated “They sent me a video of it in the chicken coop I’ll try to post.”

As of 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 15, he had not posted the video.

McKenna’s post began popping up all over Facebook, including in the “Where Is NE Black Bear?” Facebook group that has been following the adventures of the bears that have popped up in Southeastern New England. While Zimmer did not post that the bear had been killed – only shot – the online rumor mill had suggested the bear had been killed.

Zimmer said MassWildlife had received “a bunch of calls” about the post. He even jumped into the Facebook group himself, commenting under a post asking if the bear has been shot, “Not true. The bear was in with livestock (goats) and was scared off with bean bag rounds (same thing used on unruly crowds of people). It is fine/alive and well.”

Zimmer reiterated what MassWildlife has told WBSM in the wake of all the bear sightings, that the approach is to “just let the bear do its thing, as long as it’s not a major public safety hazard.”

Zimmer also debunked another online rumor that suggested MassWildlife "has to shoot" a bear if it cannot be relocated or shooed from the area. He said the bean bag rounds were used to scare the bear out of the area, and that shooting a bear with actual bullets would be “absolutely the last resort.”

“I can’t think of a case where a bear has been shot,” he told WBSM.

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Zimmer said that as of right now, MassWildlife doesn’t have any reason to believe there have been more than two bears in our region; one came through the SouthCoast, visiting Fall River, New Bedford, Dartmouth, Marion and other towns before heading back toward Lakeville and Berkley.

The second bear seems to have made himself at home in the Sharon area, and that is the one that has been traveling through Pembroke, Plympton, Plymouth and even crashing a bridal shower in Carver over the weekend.

“We get a lot of reports, but I’ve seen nothing indicating there are more than two individuals,” he said. “It’s certainly possible. Not every bear is going to pop up and get reported every single day.”

He said there have been other bears in the area over the past three or four years and that not all have stayed or survived (the bear known as “Boo Boo” died after being struck by a van on Interstate 195 back in July 2021).

“This is going to be a regular thing,” Zimmer said. “It’s people’s responsibility to protect livestock, beehives, backyard chickens. Bears are a relatively new phenomenon in Southeastern Mass, but they’re only going to get more prevalent as the bear population continues to recover and expand.”

“People need to take precautions like the people in the rest of Massachusetts are doing, like people in the Worcester area and west are already doing, where they live with bears,” he said.

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