Mother bear and cubs rescued from Connecticut storm drain

SIMSBURY, Conn. — Officials from several agencies worked together to help a mother bear and her two cubs that were found stuck in a storm drain.

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The bears had been stuck in the sewer system in Simsbury for hours, and neighbors called wildlife officials after hearing the animals crying, WFSB reported.

“When we put a flashlight down there, it was a tagged bear looking up at us, which is the last thing you expect to see,” Scott Conrad, who lives in Simsbury, told WFSB.

Officials with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection shared photos of the rescue in a Facebook post, saying the bears most likely got into the storm drain using a nearby culvert, but got lost in the maze of tunnels.

The photos show officials using a ladder, a log and large boards to create a path for the bears to climb out of the hole, but getting the bears to use it wasn’t so simple.

Wildlife biologist Jason Hawley, who is part of DEEP’s bear program, made a bear call imitating a cub to attempt to get the bears to come to the exit, the Hartford Courant reported.

“[Mothers] have such a strong maternal instinct, that they’ll respond to it, even though she had both of her cubs with her,” Hawley told the Hartford Courant.

Hawley told the newspaper that the mother initially climbed up half the ladder before returning back down, and that was when officials brought in a log to make the path more natural for the animals.

“Bears climb trees all the time, so we put a log down in that storm drain,” Hawley told WFSB. “It took a while. It was about three hours we were sitting out there waiting and eventually once we got everyone backed away and she felt comfortable with her cubs, she was the first one to poke her head up, looked around, made sure the coast was clear, came out first, and then she helped her two cubs come out of the storm drain.”

Libby Lord, a local photographer, took pictures of the rescue, which shared with DEEP.

Hawley told the Hartford Courant that the drain that the bears came out of was covered, so they couldn’t go back down, and none of the bears was hurt.

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