New Canaan Police responded to a rare sighting of a black bear roaming in the vicinity of Laurel Road and Soundview Lane in New Canaan at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday morning, according to the department. Soundview Lane is a dead-end road, which overlooks the campus of St. Luke's School.

Attempts to reach officers of the town's Animal Control Division on Tuesday afternoon were not immediately successful.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection describes the average black bear as a stocky animal with short, thick legs. It also has the distinction of being the smallest North American bear. Adult males are called boars, and normally weigh 150 to 450 pounds, while females, called sows, weigh between 150 and 250 pounds.

DEEP logged 4,438 black bear sightings between last April and March 25 of this year, but the sightings were almost nonexistent this far south in Fairfield County during that time.

Easton reported seven sightings, and Weston two, while Danbury had 10.

A DEEP fact sheet recommends eliminating outdoor pet food and other edibles from outside your home to minimize the probability of attracting the bears. The animals are also attracted to garbage.

Here are some recommendations from the DEEP's website to prevent attracting bears to your property:

Remove bird feeders from late March through November. If a bear visits a bird feeder in winter, remove the feeder.

Wait until the morning of collection before bringing out trash. Add a few capfuls of ammonia to trash bags and garbage cans to mask food odors. Keep trash bags in a container with a tight lid and store in a garage or shed.

Do not leave pet food outside overnight. Store livestock food in airtight containers.

Do not put meats or sweet-smelling fruit rinds in compost piles. Lime can be sprinkled on the compost pile to reduce the smell and discourage bears.

Thoroughly clean grills after use or store in a garage or shed.

Never intentionally feed bears. Bears that associate food with people may become aggressive and dangerous. This may lead to personal injury, property damage and the need to destroy problem animals.

Encourage your neighbors to take similar precautions.

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