NJ Fish and Wildlife: Union Beach Bear was behaving normally

O’Scanlon: Bears Hanging out in Monmouth County on Memorial Day Weekend is not “normal behavior”

Male bear killed in Union Beach on Saturday night. photo by Councilman Charlie Cocuzza

In response to our report this morning that NJ DEP’s Fish and Wildlife Division told Union Beach Police officials that “We don’t come out on weekends” and “that is not our protocol,” when the UBPD asked for their assistance in tranquilizing and relocating the bear that was shot and killed last night, DEP spokesman Bob Considine said, “the notion that F&W biologist don’t work weekends is ridiculous and offensive.”

Considine said that had the Union Beach situation been Category 1, i.e., the bear was a threat to public safety or property, that Fish and Wildlife biologists would have been on the scene. He said that the situation in Union Beach last night was a Category 3…a bear exhibiting normal behavior and not a nuisance or threat to public safety.

Considine said that F&W advised UBPD that they would not be disposing of the carcass over the weekend.  The bear’s body is now stored in a locked dumpster on Union Beach Borough property.  “Perhaps something got lost in translation,” he said.

From NJ DEP’s Bear Facts



Considine issue the following prepared statement to MMM:

Last night, Division of Fish and Wildlife did advise the Union Beach Police Department to allow a black bear that had been in a residential area to find its way out on its own, to disperse any crowds, to message to residents to remove bird feeders, bring in garbage cans and keep doors closed through a reverse 911 and to euthanize only if they feel someone is in imminent danger, as is the right of any local police department.
These are the instructions the Division of Fish and Wildlife provide to many municipal police departments for residential bear sightings, and is also messaged in bear training sessions that DFW biologists provide to local law enforcement.
In a large majority of cases, black bears do find their way out on their own and extract themselves from residential areas and back into the wild. Case in point, the bear that was euthanized last night, we believe was last tagged in Stillwater Township in Sussex County two years ago. Bears do travel extensively and often they move at night, particularly during this time of year.

Additionally, Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists do not tranquilize bears using chemical mobilization drugs during nighttime hours out of concern for staff safety and public safety.
For more tips on living with black bears, please visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2017/17_0031.htm

photo by Union Beach Councilman Charlie Cocuzza.

On follow up, Considine said that two years ago when the male bear the bear was tranquilized in Stillwater and tagged 9121 on its upper gums, he was was relocated to a location nearby in Sussex County. When informed that some local officials were speculating that NJDEP was relocating bears to Naval Weapons Station Earle in Colts Neck or Middletown, Considine said, “Not true.”

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, whose district includes Union Beach and Middletown, said, “Bears hanging out in Monmouth County on Memorial Day weekend is not normal behavior for us.  If DEP is telling us that bears roaming through Monmouth County is the new normal, they need to educate the public on how to interact with bears and train our law enforcement officers and animal control officers on how to deal with the new normal presence of bears.  I intend to facilitate that happening quickly.”

Posted: May 28th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

14 Comments on “NJ Fish and Wildlife: Union Beach Bear was behaving normally”

  1. Amy said at 9:58 pm on May 28th, 2017:

    NJDFW should be ashamed. What if an officer, resident, or child had been mauled/killed. Would that constitute a level 1?? This is bullshit, and they know it. They left the UBPD no other choice and now a beautiful creature is dead. A 400 lb black bear (or any bear!) Walking through a densely populated Jersey Shore bay area town breaking through backyard fences on a busy memorial day weekend is far from normal.

  2. Amie said at 8:06 am on May 29th, 2017:

    Oh and I guess we’re supposed to believe a politician’s opinions about bears over the knowledge of wildlife experts? Give me a break. Bears in populated areas is nothing new in New Jersey! It may be new in Monmouth county, but it makes sense considering we keep building in areas bears would prefer to live. The advice given by the NJDFW made perfect sense. But the police couldn’t be bothered and killed the bear because it was easier.

  3. Dennis Isenburg said at 11:16 am on May 29th, 2017:

    Bears would be able to survive if we stopped building on every resource they have left. Where are they supposed to go ? Not to mention the new law that was passed to kill bears during hibernating..? Wtf do people expect

  4. Mike Harmon said at 2:55 pm on May 29th, 2017:

    Can’t blame the police but it does seem a bit heavy handed. Clearly Fish & Wildlife dropped the ball on this. The protocols seem idiotic. Not only do they not do their job, they don’t let anyone else do it.

    It is remarkable how few people saw this bear during it’s journey from Sussex to Monmouth. Imagine the roads, highways and major roads like the GSP and Turnpike. One of my brothers spent much time hunting bears in Wyoming where he lives. He was walking in Holmdel Park with my sister during a visit two year’s ago and way in the back of the park found bear tracks.

    And of course many remember Bill and Henry pounding a few down at the Shrewsbury Yacht Club a few years ago on a Friday afternoon. Hey Henry I just saw a bear dive into the Navesink River…WTF? Bill got cutoff early that day. If I recall that bear made it’s way toward the Bayshore too.

    We had a coyote or two living in Atlantic Highlands a few years ago. Very few people ever saw them except for the cops doing their late night early morning patrols. I remember a January day walking with my daughter down by the bay to see the ice. We saw two raccoons in different trees in broad daylight. Weird. Then we found the blood-in-the-snow kill zone bodies of raccoons and feral cats….

    Look at these photos of the park visitors in Dorbrook, Colts Neck.


  5. John said at 3:24 pm on May 29th, 2017:

    Very Lame by all especially the State!

  6. Name (required) said at 10:17 pm on May 29th, 2017:

    That bear smelled

  7. Stephanie said at 6:17 am on May 30th, 2017:

    If everyone read the original story that was reported, it was called in as,a bear going through garbage and then in a tree. That is why it was called in and responded as a III. As you read all stories, the people in town were told to stay in and they didn’t. More commotion was created. No one every reported that this bear was aggressive and attacked. I blame all that were involved. There was a lack of communication and because of that, people need to accept responsibility.

  8. Mgtkar said at 2:41 pm on May 30th, 2017:

    Shame on them ! Fire them !!!!!

  9. Linda said at 3:18 pm on May 30th, 2017:

    Fish and wildlife u should be ashamed. This is what u get paid for. An innocent animal had to die because of your selfishness. Whom ever was in charge here should be fired immediately.

  10. april said at 7:49 am on May 31st, 2017:

    this is an outrage, the police force needs to be educated in unnecessary force!

  11. april said at 7:49 am on May 31st, 2017:

    this is an outrage, the police force needs to be educated in unnecessary force!

  12. Cynthia Weitzel said at 2:51 pm on May 31st, 2017:

    Please stop the insanity, our wildlife is killed simply for being out in “the open”

  13. Chris Hicks said at 7:34 am on June 1st, 2017:

    You failed period to say a bear was acting normally ? That’s just great…..But they NEVER had a bear in Union Beach before ! So …. IT ISNT NORMAL !! POINT BLANK !! I wished the bear didn’t have to be put down too …. but if it had gotten a hold of someone’s dog ,cat, or kid everyone would be screaming why didn’t they do something …. maybe it’s time to educate and get these towns officers training with tranquilizers and supply them these things .

  14. Sorry, but, said at 7:33 pm on June 1st, 2017:

    the operative word here is”wildlife.” While very sad the bear could not have been tranquilized and relocated, we all really need to stop humanizing creatures who live in the wild. It happens even when some house pets are too close, or left alone, with infants: some people think that if we love them enough, they will love us back, in a human way: not so. If this anomaly becomes more prevalent in neighborhoods in our over- developed and crowded state, one would hope more tax dollars will be spent on the right equipment and training.