Mother black bear with 3 cubs spotted in Topsham neighborhood

Posted Sept. 25, 2013, at 12:07 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 25, 2013, at 8:03 p.m.

TOPSHAM, Maine — A Harpswell man found an uncommon surprise in his girlfriend’s backyard in Topsham Tuesday night when he was greeted by a mother black bear and three young cubs.

Just after 10:30 p.m., Joel Toothaker called police to report the excitement outside a condominium on Munroe Road.

“I walked out back and there they were,” Toothaker said by phone Wednesday. “I looked at them for awhile and then went back inside.”

Toothaker called the Topsham police, who sent two officers to the home just off Route 201. A Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s deputy also responded.

“I didn’t really expect to see them at the condominiums across from Mt. Ararat [High School],” Toothaker said.

Officers cordoned off the area and warned area residents to stay away, Topsham police Lt. Frederick Dunn said.

Police shined flashlights at the bear cubs in a tree and the mother bear, who promptly scrambled up into the tree behind them.

They then contacted a Maine game warden, who said they wouldn’t tranquilize four bears, according to Dunn, and advised letting the mother and her cubs wander away.

A half-hour later, the bears did just that.

Toothaker said the bears didn’t seem at all aggressive, and were likely drawn to nearby bird feeders, trash and a Dumpster.

About a year-and-a-half ago, a bear appeared on Bridge Street in Topsham, Dunn said. None have been spotted in the area since then.

Dunn advised residents to bring their trash inside.

Toothaker said the burly visitors didn’t scare him at all, and he had fun watching them.

“It’s only a bear,” he said.

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of this story requires correction. Joel Toothaker lives in Harpswell, not Topsham, where he saw the bears. The previous bear sighting in Topsham was on Bridge Street, not Ridge Street.

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