American Black Bear ursus americanus

There’s a Bear in Tokeneke, But No Need for Alarm, Police Say

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There’s a young black bear in Tokeneke, although it “is not considered a threat to people or animals,” police say. Its presence does call for some care, however, according to a police announcement. The bear, weighing about 100 pounds, was seen Thursday. According to the Darien animal control officer, it’s a good idea for people living in or near Tokeneke, in the southeast part of town, to avoid attracting the beast by putting bird feeders and garbage cans in the garage or shed. There’s also no need to call police if you spot it “unless it has caused destruction of property or is presenting some type of safety hazard.”

Frog Maritime Aquarium Frog Watch 2020

‘Citizen-Scientists’ — Including Older Children — Wanted to Listen for Frogs

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The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk needs “citizen-scientist” volunteers for a ribbeting project that will reveal important details and trends about our local frog and toad populations. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

An army of trained volunteers is needed to collect local data for a national program called “FrogWatch USA.” The local effort is a collaboration between The Maritime Aquarium, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport and Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven. Although it’s called “FrogWatch,” volunteers are asked to listen, not to watch, and to report what they hear. You don’t have to know anything about frogs and toads and their different calls to sign up. That will be taught during upcoming training sessions at each of the local institutions:

• Wednesday, March 4 at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

• Friday, March 6 at Yale University’s Class of 1954 Environmental Science Center

• Friday, March 13 at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Each training is from 7 to 9 p.m. You only need to attend one.

Harbor Seals Seal-Spotting and Birding Cruises

Maritime Aquarium Offers Winter Seal-Spotting, Birding Cruises

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You can cruise out onto Long Island Sound with the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk this winter in the hope of seeing some of the seals and birds that spend the colder months just off shore. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

The Maritime Aquarium’s 2020 season of Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruises offers outings on many Saturdays and Sundays now through April 12. Dates and departure times vary by low tide. The next cruises are on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. and on Sunday, Jan.

An image of a fawn deer (Odocoileus species) cropped down to put more focus on the fawn itself. This version: minor (levels) edit of orig pic by Elfer

Oh, Deer — They’re More Likely to Be in Your Headlights This Time of Year

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It’s autumn and deer collisions in Connecticut occur with wild abandon! That’s because love is in the air for our deer friends during deer mating season. An AAA Northeast crash data analysis has found 72% of deer crashes generally occur outside daylight hours, especially during the 5 to 7 p.m. commute. Based on statistics from the UCONN Crash Data Repository, 208 deer crashes occurred in Connecticut in November 2018 — the most of any month last year. That figure equates to one deer crash every four hours.


Darien Police: Leave Fawns Alone (For at Least 48 Hours) — They’re Often Not Really in Trouble

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The Darien Police Department and the Darien animal control officer have received a significant increase in calls regarding “abandoned fawns.” Here is information you should be aware of before contacting the police department:

— an announcement from Darien police

The only time a female (doe) will be found with a fawn is during feeding times. Fawns are fed three to four times a day, each feeding lasting only about 15 minutes. During the long periods left alone, newborn fawns instinctively freeze and will lay motionless when approached. According to CT DEEP, If you come across a fawn, it is best to leave it alone for at least 48 hours to determine whether the adult is returning for feedings. While waiting for the doe to return, it is important that both people and dogs stay away from the fawn.

Hatchling Turtle

Don’t Touch Wild Hatchling Turtles — and Other Wild Turtle Advice from the Maritime Aquarium

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The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is asking folks to be mindful of turtles on the move at this time of year, and only to interact with them if necessary. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

Barrett Christie, director of animal husbandry, said several recent well-meaning callers have “rescued” hatchling diamondback terrapins, a protected coastal species. One hatchling was even delivered to the Aquarium. “Often, upon being handled by humans or brought in to human care, turtles cannot be returned to their natural habitats,” Christie said. “We’re glad that people are concerned for the welfare of turtles as they find them, but it’s important to know what to do and what not to do.”

Listed in Connecticut as a “species of special concern,” diamondback terrapins are the state’s only turtle that spend their lives in the brackish waters of Long Island Sound’s tidal rivers and marshes.

Great White Shark Turns Up in Greenwich — First Known Siting There, Ever

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It sounded like another sequel to Jaws, yet this time it is fact, not fiction., a marine life organization that has tagged and tracked a great white shark named after the explorer John Cabot, issued an advisory on Monday that the 9-foot-8-inch, 533-pound shark was spotted in the waters off the Greenwich coast. — This article originally was published by OCearch studies marine life in the U.S. and worldwide. At approximately 10:50 am Monday, OCearch tweeted that Cabot had triggered their tracking system in Long Island Sound, in the water between Tod’s Point and Great Captains Island.

Warning lime green coyote at waveny 2019

Leashed Dog Bit by Coyote at Waveny Park: Police Suggest Keeping Dogs Away from Pond Area

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Visitors to Waveny Park, just over the border from Darien in New Canaan, should be be especially vigilant in the area of the pond New Canaan Police are warning, after a coyote bit a leashed dog there last week. Visitors with dogs should avoid the area of Waveny Pond entirely for now, according to Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control Section. — This article originally was published by Halm said police had two calls Wednesday, about coyote sightings in the part of Waveny that includes the pond at the foot of the sledding hill, and that a witness to the biting incident on Thursday, April 25 reported it to authorities. The coyotes likely have established a den near the pond, Halm said, and are protecting the territory.

Tagging Horseshoe Crabs Maritime Aquarium 2019

Volunteers Needed to Tag Horseshoe Crabs: Register for Maritime Aquarium How-to Classes

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A beach mating ritual that is millions of years old is about to occur again on Connecticut’s shorelines, and the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk needs help documenting it. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

Volunteers are needed this spring to help the Aquarium tag horseshoe crabs when the unique creatures come out of Long Island Sound to spawn in the sand. This mass event is a bonanza time to gather data for an ongoing horseshoe-crab census — so much so that help is needed from “citizen scientists.”

“These tagging trainings reach capacity every spring, which thrills and amuses us,” said Aquarium spokesman Dave Sigworth. “Horseshoe crabs are hardly cute and cuddly. But a lot of people find it fun to go mucking around the beach in the middle of the night with us — all on the crabs’ behalf.

Volunteer Maritime Aquarium

Expand Your Horizons While Giving Back: Volunteer at the Maritime Aquarium

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Pursue your interest in marine animals and share your knowledge and enthusiasm with others by becoming a member of the volunteer staff at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. Everyone from 15-year-olds to seniors is invited. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

Interviews for potential volunteers — with details provided about a training course in March — will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 13 and Thursday, Feb. 21, on both days at 5 p.m. You need attend only one.

Sandi Schaefer-Padgett feeds sand tiger sharks

Something Romantic For Valentine’s Day: Feed the Creatures at the Maritime Aquarium

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On the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, give your sweetie what he or she really wants: the chance to hand-feed a cow-nose ray. And a horseshoe crab. And a diamondback terrapin. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is making the magic possible by putting a special twist on its popular behind-the-scenes “Feeding Time” program. On Sat., Feb.

Tiny leopard tortoise newborn

Birth Announcement: A 10-Gram Leopard Tortoise at Maritime Aquarium

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The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk announces its first-ever hatching of a tortoise: a leopard tortoise on Jan. 6. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

The tiny tortoise is the first member of the turtle and tortoise family (Testudines) to ever hatch at the aquarium. The egg was the result of a pairing among six leopard tortoises added in a new display last summer. “We are extremely proud of our biologists for broadening their range of animal-husbandry expertise,” said Barrett L. Christie, director of animal husbandry.

Bee suit person Darien Pollinator Pathway event

About 50 People Learned More About the Darien Pollinator Pathway at Event

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The Darien Pollinator Pathway held its first event on Wednesday, Jan. 23, where over 50 people enjoyed an evening of wine and cheese while learning about the background of the Pathway. — an announcement, slightly adapted, from the Darien Pollinator Pathway organizers

They also learned about the need to help save our pollinator population which is in drastic decline because of pollution, climate change and loss of habitat. The evening was hosted by the Gardener’s Center and Florist, one of the collaborators in the Pathway. The Pollinator Pathway is seeking to restore the balance by encouraging people to landscape without using synthetic chemicals and to include native plants in their yards.

Darien Cops Website Coyote

Letter from Friends of Animals: Fencing, Not a Kill Permit, Is What’s Needed to Protect Pets from Coyotes

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To the editor:
The incident involving an attack on two dogs in Tokeneke is a most unfortunate event, but there is no reason why Darien residents should react by applying for kill permits from DEEP [the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection]. First, an invisible fence is not sufficient to keep dogs on one’s property protected because that electric fence won’t prevent other dogs, foxes or coyotes from entering one’s yard. There is fencing that will protect dogs and prevent wildlife from entering one’s property — but it’s five-foot woven-wire stationery fencing with extenders facing outward at the top of each post, not invisible fencing. Fencing needs to extend at least 8 inches below the surface, or have a galvanized-wire apron that extends out from the fence at least 15 inches. Prevention is the best strategy for minimizing encounters and conflicts with coyotes, foxes and other indigenous wildlife who shouldn’t be persecuted.

Eastern Coyote 03-23-17 via Wikimedia Commons

One Dog Killed in Possible Coyote Attack, Another Injured in Tokeneke

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A dachshund belonging to a resident of Coves End Road in the Tokeneke section of Darien died from injuries after a fight with another animal, thought to be a large coyote in the area, according to the Tokeneke Association. In an email sent to members of the Tokeneke Association on Sunday (full text below), two dachshunds were let out by their owner at 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 18. One returned later with four-inch cuts on both sides of her body, which required surgery at a veterinary hospital. Family members searched for the other dog, but couldn’t find him.