A family of bears living under a Massachusetts highway were successfully relocated to a new home last Thursday.
We have lots of questions for this mother black bear, first among them being how exactly she managed to establish a den on the center median of a highway. Was the highway just not all that busy, and thus it wasn’t a big deal? Was she capable of teaching her cubs to look both ways before crossing the road? Were property values that much cheaper as a result of being so close to a noisy highway?
We’ll never get the chance to find out because she and her family of cubs were relocated last Thursday morning.
Massachusetts State Police, along with the Massachusetts Environmental Police, closed down Route 2 for roughly 45 minutes between the 19 and 20 exits. Environmental Police officers shot the momma bear with a tranquilizer while her babies were scooped up by State Police, who got an adorable sequence of selfies.
Everything went beary well! Mother 🐻 was tranquilized. Mother & cubs have been relocated to a safe location by @MAEnviroPolice & MassWildlife in nearby State Forest.— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) March 14, 2019
Thank you all for your patience in #MAtraffic while we made this happen. pic.twitter.com/W0QxsIenKQ
Massachusetts Police made sure everyone was aware of the plan early Thursday morning so as to minimize traffic disruptions. The highway was shut down for just 45 minutes while police completed the relocation operation.
Once mom had gone to La La Land (the metaphysical place of sleep, not the movie), officers then drove them to a nearby patch of state forest to be their new home. It doesn’t have the same highway access, and also is far less illuminated at night, but it also doesn’t pose a risk to motorists or the bears, and that’s a win in our books.
Massachusetts Environmental Police and MassWildlife successfully relocated a mother bear and her two cubs this morning.— MAEnviroPolice (@MAEnviroPolice) March 14, 2019
The family of three had recently been found living in a den located in the median of Route 2 in Templeton. pic.twitter.com/2o371MOnoP
"Everything went beary well!" Massachusetts State Police tweeted once the operation had been completed.
Environmental Police followed that up to report “Massachusetts Environmental Police and MassWildlife successfully relocated a mother bear and her two cubs this morning,” along with several images of the bear’s cubs.
It’s highly unusual for a black bear to make their den in the middle of a highway. Black bears are certainly no stranger to humans and are a frequent sight at trash dumps, but they still tend to stay away from human habitations and traffic routes. Hopefully, this momma bear is just a little slow and this doesn’t turn into a wider trend of black bears settling down in highways.