MassWildlife biologist will discuss black bear safety in Halifax Tuesday morning

Amelia Stern
The Enterprise

HALIFAX — Throughout the summer and into the fall, black bear sightings have been ubiquitous in Halifax and the surrounding areas, prompting the Halifax Police Department to schedule a presentation on bear safety as part of the Council on Aging’s monthly speaker series.

Coincidentally, the pre-planned presentation comes on the heels of an incident involving a black bear that’s sparked debate not just in Halifax, but across Southeastern Massachusetts.

A local black bear nicknamed “Pumpkin” attacked livestock for a second time in Hanson last week, prompting the Hanson Police Department to announce that Pumpkin would have to be euthanized the next time a problem encounter takes place.

The black bear known as Pumpkin has become a "problem bear" in Hanson.

“Last evening one of the local bears once again got into a resident's barn and killed a goat. Since the bear, known as Pumpkin, has gotten a taste for livestock he will have to be euthanized,” Hanson Police Department wrote in a Facebook post last week.

More:Why Hanson officials plan to kill local black bear nicknamed Pumpkin. Residents react

Many people expressed anger, sadness, and confusion over the announcement, which received more than 800 comments, 440 reactions, and 180 shares within 24 hours.

MassWildlife's Black Bear and Furbearer Biologist Dave Wattles, who consulted with the Hanson Police Department, is set to do a zoom presentation followed by a question and answer session on black bears tomorrow. Here’s what to know about the event.

Dave Wattles, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Black Bear Project leader, readies a tracking collar for a bear during the annual midwinter den survey. Submitted Photo/MassWildlife

When and where is the presentation?

The presentation will take place at the Great Hall in Halifax’s Town Hall, located at 499 Plymouth St. on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. Wattles will zoom in for the presentation, however anyone interested in attending must go in person. There will not be an option for participants to zoom in.

How long is the presentation?

According to Halifax Police Chief Joao A. Chaves, the presentation will run for 15 to 20 minutes, followed by a question and answer session.

What is the presentation about?

While the event coincides with the black bear incident in Hanson, it will not be the focus of the presentation.

“This was a pre-scheduled event,” said Chaves. “If the Council on Aging doesn’t have a presenter lined up for their guest speaker series, they will reach out to the police department. Because of the ongoing issues we’ve had with the bears, I reached out to MassWildlife to come in and speak to the seniors to make them more aware of how to interact with the bear population,” he said.

While the presentation will focus more generally on living with bears, there will be a chance to ask questions at the end of Wattle’s presentation.

Is the event just for seniors?

Anyone is welcome to attend the presentation. “I’m anticipating more of a turnout than normal,” said Chaves. “That being said, it is at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday so I don’t anticipate people will stay out of work for this.”