Franklin Police Issue Bear Advisory: 'Bears Are Allowed To Be In The Woods'

Photo: Courtesy of the Friends of Franklin Facebook Page.

FRANKLIN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — With black bears well out of hibernation to forage for berries and hunt deer, the Franklin Police Department is issuing what they say is an obvious warning: don't poke the bears.

"Contrary to popular belief bears are allowed to be in the woods. This should go without saying but please do not go near a bear if you see it. We just cleared a call of a cub walking on Washington by Street Shiela Lane. Keep an eye on your pets and hold your bird feeders tight," the FPD said on Facebook.

The post was accompanied by a photo of the one and only Yogi Bear.

The warning comes after multiple residents reported bear sightings near Washington Street, including the Friends of Franklin group, which shared an up-close image of a black bear on its hind legs reaching up at leaves above.

Residents tell WBZ's Chris Fama the spike of sightings in Franklin are uncommon.

"Never in Franklin, nowhere around here, never anywhere near home— it's crazy [and] quite a sight," one longtime Washington Street resident said.

Statistics from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife support that notion, placing Franklin just outside the expanding bear range. Officials say it's typically young bears and vagabond males that find themselves just east of Route 495.

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Black bears quickly filled up the social media feeds of Franklin residents, to the point where some are asking for others to stop posting the exact addresses of sightings.

State officials say black bears have an extremely keen sense of smell and an excellent long-term memory, with the ability to remember food source locations years after an initial visit.

WBZ's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports.

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