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Dozens of people stop on Western Avenue, in Brattleboro, to get a glimpse of a black bear and her three cubs that were up in a tree on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. Police warn that the mother bear might become aggressive when trying to protect her cubs.

BRATTLEBORO — State wildlife officials can’t say whether a bear struck and killed on I-91 Friday morning was the mama bear that, along with three cubs, attracted a crowd on Western Avenue the day before.

Jaclyn Comeau, wildlife biologist and black bear project leader with the state, said she learned from local game warden Kelly Price of the bear killed on the highway. She said due to the condition of the bear, Price could not confirm the animal’s gender, and noted he was unable to find evidence of cubs nearby.

“I haven’t spoken with him since this morning, but at that time there wasn’t enough evidence to confirm if it was the same bear or not,” Comeau said in an email to the Reformer Friday afternoon.

The mama bear and cubs had been spotted by onlookers in a tree across from the Green Mountain Chapel. On Friday, Joshua Morse, public information officer for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the bear family left the neighborhood without incident.

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“Our warden division confirms that the bears safely left the area on their own,” Morse said in an email to the Reformer.

Officials had been concerned that the mother bear would become aggressive if provoked to protect her cubs.

The state advises residents to not leave anything tempting outside, even compost.

Bob Audette can be contacted at