Dead bear on Staten Island
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Dead Bear on Staten Island

Out of Place in NYC

Bear season in NYI woke up this morning to the news of the discovery of a dead bear on Staten Island. For those who don’t know, Staten Island is one of the five boroughs of New York City. Overall, Staten Island is much more suburban than the other 4 boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. But we still have plenty of wildlife here. A huge deer population, foxes, racoons, beavers, skunks, turkeys, as well as squirrels, turtles and more. However, bears haven’t been seen on Staten Island since the 17th century.

So it was a bit surprising to wake up this morning, scroll through my newsfeed, and see that a black bear was found dead in the parking lot of a local strip mall. The accompanying pictures (which are a bit gruesome, so beware) confirmed that this was indeed a bear. No misidentifications here. But I immediately realized what had happened. This was an out of place animal, to be sure. But this had human meddling written all over it. Nothing paranormal or supernatural or Fortean about it.

The bear, which was allegedly a 100lb male juvenile, was found lying in a parking lot near a Dollar Tree store, at 77 Richmond Hill Road. Sources close to the investigation claimed the animal had “significant trauma to its body.” The pictures of the bear seem to confirm this. There is what looks like an injury to it’s mouth, as well as a large open wound on it’s body. The lack of blood near the animal in the parking lot pretty much told me that this animal was not killed where it was found.

So What Happened?

In all likelihood, this poor bear was killed somewhere else. Staten Island may not have bears, but we are surrounded by bear habitat. New Jersey, the Catskill Mountains, and even the Adirondacks are full of black bears. And they are all within driving distance of Staten Island. Somebody killed this bear elsewhere, and for some reason dumped it here on Staten Island. The bodily wound to the bear looks like it’s possibly from a shotgun. The problem is, the earliest bear hunting seasons in the area don’t even begin until mid-September.

So I think there’s three possibilities here. One, poachers hunted and killed this animal, and then callously disposed of it’s body. Perhaps they realized their weapons did too much damage to keep it as a trophy. Two, some poor campers got cornered by a bear and killed it in self-defense. Not knowing what to do, they took the bear home with them, and then realized they’d need to dump it. Three, some idiots got drunk and decided to shoot a bear, and then freaked out once they killed it.

My money is on the idiots. I can’t see anyone killing a bear in self-defense, and then dragging the bear all the way back to NYC to dispose of it. They’d just leave it where it was. Poachers would probably take better-placed shots of their prey. They’d also probably leave it where it was killed. But I could totally imagine some drunk morons – either accidentally or purposefully – shooting this poor cub and then panicking, realizing they’d be in big trouble for killing a bear out of season. Especially if it posed no threat to them. Hopefully the perpetrators can be identified, either through witnesses or security camera footage.

**WARNING: Graphic Images**

Dead bear on Staten Island
(Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)


Staten Island bear
(Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)