Thursday, September 19, 2002

Bobcats and bears, oh my

Published in the Current

A bear was spotted on Ash Swamp Road in Scarborough last week and a bobcat is apparently prowling around Cape.

In the wee hours of the morning of Sept. 11, a sharp-eyed Ash Swamp Road resident spotted the bear. She had noticed that something had been taking food from her backyard bird feeders.

The resident told Animal Control Officer Chris Creps that an animal had been raiding the feeders for about two weeks before she caught a glimpse of it in a motion-detector spotlight in the middle of the night. The bear wandered back into the woods after the light came on, Creps said.

He said bears in the northern area of town are not common, but “it’s not unusual,” he said. There were some sightings last year and possibly one earlier this year, he said.

The bear is not the only large animal in the area. A bobcat has been sighted in several areas around Cape Elizabeth.

Animal Control Officer Bob Leeman thinks there is only one animal, a large male that he has seen behind the town transfer station where Leeman buries dead animals found in town, including road-kill deer.

One small deer Leeman buried recently was dug up and dragged off into the woods and “completely consumed,” he said. The bobcat has stuck mainly to wooded areas, but has made an appearance behind at least one residence, that of Police Dispatcher Greg Tinsman.

Tinsman said he has recently built a path into the woods behind his home, and one day saw the bobcat standing on the new path, apparently seeing where it went. It went on its way after a short time, but was a surprise for him.

Bobcats, like bears, should not be approached or harassed. Instead, they should be left alone to leave when they decide to.