Early in November, an injured bear appeared in our backyard. Impaled in its right eye was a plastic dart, apparently fired from a toy crossbow. I placed a call to the Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection and was passed through to Paul Rego. Rego, a wildlife biologist, listened my account and explained that the DEEP could do nothing at the time to intervene. However, at his request, I sent him an admittedly poor-resolution photograph documenting the injury. He also asked me to contact him again if the bear reappeared. In December, the animal came into our yard a second time, with the dart still firmly planted in its eye. I contacted Rego, and he informed me that another homeowner had also reported seeing the injured bear and sent along a photograph. This time, Rego said that the DEEP would dispatch a crew to trap the bear and, if possible, treat its wound.
Their efforts paid off. They captured the bear and dressed the wound. It was then released back into the wild. While it remains half-blinded, bears rely primarily on their keen noses to find food. The animal should be able to fend for itself successfully.
I am writing, first of all, to praise Rego and his colleagues for their compassion and expertise in rescuing an injured animal. All Connecticut taxpayers can take pride in supporting such professionalism.
Secondly, I wish to express the hope that the individual responsible for maiming this animal meant only to scare the bear away, not to injure it. I fervently hope that he regrets his action and has learned an important lesson about respect for our fellow non-human companions on planet Earth.