Black Bear Encounters

By Steve Hiltner

On June 26th, a third black bear was spotted in Princeton, this time sprawled out front and center in the main meeting room of township hall. Having arrived late, I took awhile to notice the animal, quiet and still as the rest of us while a state wildlife official delivered a Powerpoint presentation on bears in New Jersey. No doubt the committee chambers have seen their share of paper tigers, red herrings, fishy development proposals and other forms of political wildlife. On this particular night, however, town officials were safely off at borough hall, hybridizing a new Princeton while township chambers took on a more rustic, camp lodge feel, with the six foot bear skin, its sidekick Skull, and assorted radio collars and other tracking equipment on display.

In a way, the young woman making the presentation, breaking the woodsy stereotype with a fashionable pantsuit and high-heeled clogs, could be seen as presenting an unusual Powerpoint eulogy for the bear as it rested in state on the table just behind her. (click to continue reading)