Stranded bear latest park attraction

Published 6:25 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2019

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Copperheads, goats, sunflowers and now a bear. Oh my.

A bear stuck inside the electrified goat fence is the latest attraction at Windsor Castle Park. 

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The likely juvenile male black bear has been spotted multiple times inside the goat fence.

It is thought the bear got into the fenced area — used to keep the foliage-eating goats corralled — when the electricity was turned off, said Smithfield Mayor Carter Williams. 

The goats were hired to clear out the English ivy and underbrush in the part of the park near the kayak launch. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

After the first sighting early Thursday, the fence was turned back on and that seems to have trapped the bear inside, he said. 

The Smithfield Police have been to the park twice to check out the bear, having responded the second time Monday morning to a call by a man who spotted the bear while walking his dog, said Williams.

As to what assistance the police could provide, Williams said, “I don’t know.” 

Williams put several hot dog buns wrapped in a slab of peanut butter sitting outside the now turned off electric fence in an attempt to lure the bear out of the goat pen. But it would require the bear to crawl through the electric fence where it likely has been shocked before it was turned off. As of Tuesday morning, the peanut butter and hot dog buns were untouched. 

Despite their new neighbor, the goats seemed to be resting comfortably near their trailer at one end of the pen. 

By now, Williams figures the goats are used to the bear since he’s been around for a few days. 

The goats, it seems, shall lie down with the bear. 

Williams said the town has contacted the game warden who advised the town that unless the bear is threatening anyone to leave it alone. 

The bear sighting comes after a town staffer reported increased snake activity at the park.

Meanwhile, over on a field located next to the park, a herd of up to 10 deer have been busy grazing on baby cotton plants, although they prefer soybeans. Bears, on the other hand, zero in on corn fields, meaning the Windsor Castle bear will have to go elsewhere for that tasty treat. 

Bears have cubs every two years, and in the second year, the mother bear makes her male offspring leave her range and find their own territory. 

And it’s in the spring that wildlife officials get the most calls about bears, such as torn up bird feeders and trash cans.   {/mprestriction}