MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP — A black bear has been turning heads in the Poconos. It’s been traipsing through back yards on only three legs.
Newswatch 16 talked with the woman who snapped a picture of the bear on one of his visits near East Stroudsburg.
We’ve seen bears hanging around trees in the Poconos, in parking lots near Scranton, and even bears in WNEP’s own back yard, but when Linda Klein spotted a bear in her backyard, she knew he was different.
“When he got up, there we saw he only had three legs and I ran to get my camera to take a picture of him,” Klein said.
Klein’s husband George says he was rooting through the burn barrel after their Fourth of July picnic.
“Seen him with three legs I thought,’ oh, poor bear,’ but he got around great, no problem and that was a good thing.”
Game officers say although this isn’t common, they do get reports of bears missing appendages. It could be something the bear was born with or a healed injury from an accident.
“It’s hard to tell. Some injuries such as that come from a bear being struck by a vehicle. That happens routinely,” said wildlife conservation officer Ryan Gildea.
Since the Klein’s first saw this three-legged bear eating from inside their burn barrel, they say they’ve seen him come back to visit at least two more times.
“He came up here laid, turned over scratching himself.”
The bear didn’t stop over while our Newswatch 16 cameras were in the Klein’s back yard, possibly a little camera shy.
“I think now he’s probably, maybe 100 miles from here, who knows,” George Klein said.
Game officers say from looking at the photo, it looks like there’s “bearly” anything this bear should be worried about.
“He’s a healthy weight, he has a healthy coat, he’s eating, he’s able to run, defend himself and at this point he seems good to go,” said Officer Gildea.