Out enjoying dinner Tuesday evening, Elliot Moya, the police chief of Eliot, Maine, decided to quickly check Facebook, unsuspecting of the eye-popping news he’d come to read.
A post from a community member caught his attention – a report of a black bear inside an area home.
At 8:20 p.m., the Eliot police received a frantic call from a woman saying she saw a bear inside her son’s residence. The woman was dog-sitting for her son when she went into his home and, looking up into the stairway, saw a bear staring straight ahead at the top of the steps.
She promptly exited the home, but the dog stayed inside, so she called the department for assistance in getting her son’s dog out of the residence and safely ushering out the Ursus americanus.
But upon further review, the bear was determined to be a black bear taxidermy mount.
Moya explained that the woman’s son was a hunter and that the mounted animal had just been returned from a taxidermist.
“Thankfully, it was a simple thing and nothing more,” he said.
It is estimated that there are currently between 24,000 and 36,000 black bears in Maine, according to Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.
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In the last 100 years, the department said conflicts between humans and bears have lessened due to a low density of bears in-state, as well as “changes in agricultural practices, the decline of farming, increased interest in bear hunting, and the species’ rise in status as a game animal.”
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Bear scare: Maine woman mistakes taxidermy for bear, calls police