A young black bear that nibbled the leg of a Connecticut hiker last week was shot dead by wildlife officials on Wednesday, drawing criticism from some who believed the hiker intentionally approached the bears to film them.

Stephanie Rivkin posted videos of the bear encounter on her Facebook page, including a video of one bear displaying signs of agitation and coming close enough to nuzzle her leg.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection stated that the bear, which had been previously tagged, had a history of negative interactions with humans and was euthanized this week.

“This male bear had a history of aggressive behavior toward humans,” the department stated in a press release. “It was captured, tranquilized and relocated from the perimeter fence at Bradley International Airport in June of this year.  Later that month, it attempted to follow a woman into a building in Windsor. In July, it was suspected of entering a home in Granby.”

The first video of Rivkin’s bear encounter:

This is something I’ll never forget. Please god let me get back to my car

Posted by Stephanie Rivkin on Friday, August 28, 2015

 

Conservation officers also killed another black bear while hunting for the one that Rivkin encountered, although it is unknown if it was the second bear seen in the video the hiker took last Friday. Shortly after the encounter, Rivkin told reporters that she had been terrified and was unsure if she would be able to leave unharmed.

In this video one of the bears nibbles on the hiker’s leg:

Walking with bears. It put it’s mouth on my leg. OK ok I almost got bit. Scary

Posted by Stephanie Rivkin on Friday, August 28, 2015

 

“There weren’t a whole lot of things going through my head other than keep filming and if I die they’ll have a video and know what happened to you,” she told WTIC.

Critics say that from her demeanor Rivkin did not appear to be afraid at all. They accused her of coaxing the bears to come closer for the video. At one point, the hiker repeatedly told the bears, “Don’t be scared.”

Rivkin refuted these claims and said that since the incident was reported, she has been flooded with death threats.

“For all of the people who don’t know the whole story yet are posting ridiculous comments about me I will post the rest of the videos so you can see for yourself that I did nothing to antagonize or even approach the bears,” I also had no bad intentions when I reported the bears. And stated very clearly that I did not want any harm to come to the bears. That part is beyond my control.”

Rivkin publicly advocated for wildlife officials to spare the bear, as did many others, but officials said that the animal was too aggressive and already too familiar with humans.

“At one point the bear actually starts popping it’s [sic] jaws. That’s actually a sign of aggression in bears,” said state wildlife biologist Jason Hawley. “You put the whole story together so all these behaviors together and it’s pretty disturbing behavior and it’s definitely a bear that needs to be removed from the population.”

Officials added that the trail Rivkin was hiking on is now seeing unusually high bear activity. It has been closed since Friday.

Image from Facebook

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  • NorthernMichiganBoy

    People do some dumb things, and this is a good example of it. Why would anyone let a bear with ear tags come that close. The ear tags mean something!…Like a problem bear!!!!..I would have say the hiker is very naive and not with the “Hikers Program “. Any knowledgeable hiker carries a whistle or spray if bears might be in area….If CT had a spring summer like here in Michigan, there are no blueberries, bears are looking for food…DUMB, DUMB, DUMB on hiker.

  • DaveInMich

    “I’m walking with a bear”, oh my, thank you for that plethora of information. I just thought it was a really big black squirrel. I’m sorry, I hate the narcissistic world we live in. “look at me, look at how I state the obvious, look at me as I turn the camera on myself, me me me me!”. Seriously, why would anyone think standing next to a bear is a intelligent idea, let alone a tagged bear. Oh I forgot, we don’t have to be intelligent to survive as a species these days. Just absolutely no respect for a wild animal. Although highly doubtful, I hope this person realizes her actions had deeper consequences than the nibble on her poor little hiking leg. And now a bear is dead and a the stupid get stupider.

  • Roy A Stewart

    Stupid selfish woman

  • Kurt

    wow….being the hiker I wouldn’t have left such evidence of my stupidity

    • Erin

      Right!? LOL

  • James

    Shes a dumb b****… she wasn’t scared… cops shoulda shot her instead. …..

  • eric

    She should be fined for harassing the bears. Nobody cares if she approached the bears. She has more then enough video proving she didn’t back away when they were very obviously pissed off. I guess you have to jump on a bears back and take a selfie to be considered harassment . we all would have bin better off if the bear got her to help us rid this world of idiots like herself.
    A hunters point of view!!!!

  • Will

    See, selfie generation, this is what happens. Stop recording every little thing you do. No one cares! (except when you force them to by posting a video of an innocent animal smelling you)
    She doesn’t deserve the right to hike in our forests. That bear was euthanized because the video went viral, and our state’s DEEP is full of a bunch of cowards. Thank you for reinforcing the fact that you are not an organization concerned with environmental protection at all. I’m disgusted by this. Yes, I realize there are much more horrible things happening in the world that require our attention as a species, and that is all the more reason that bear should’ve been left alone. She was in it’s habitat, not the other way around.

  • BOB

    Stehanie Rivkin encouraged the Bears to come closer, speaking softly telling them “Don’t be afraid” and she even snuck in a selfie. Then the bears get killed?? Can’t the Parks Cite her for that? I nominate her for the NATIONAL YFA award. How do we know she was not feeding them prior to filming???

    • Susan Cohen

      She did put down her water bottle and she DID engage the bear. SHE was talking to them ( hello, BEARS DON’T TALK). How sad. How terribly selfish and dumb and sad. I distinctly heard the woman say “Don’t be scared”. Wow. There are really no words, just that sick feeling one gets in one’s stomach when one encounters someone so unaware of the rest of the world. The thing about this woman is this – the bear was killed because of HER because the more used to humans the bear gets, the closer it comes to killing a kid…but why am I telling anyone this, SHE’s the one I want to tell and she obviously doesn’t care.

  • Terry

    Another moron actively looking for a YouTube/Facebook selfie. “”I’m so COOL!’ Well now the bear that clearly was leery of approaching you is dead. Your’re SOOOO cool!

  • Perm

    Yea she should have ran from them instead and got chased down a mauled! Ignorant ass people! She was obviously limited with her options! People watch 5 second videos of someone getting thrown down by a cop and say police brutality, but didn’t see the part of them resisting arrest. This video you can clearly see shes not antagonizing the bears! They are bears!

  • Pamela Pettigrew

    She didn’t raise her arms, or talk loudly, like go away bear. She played cutsie with the bear like it was a dog or pet.

  • Erin

    I grew up in black bear country. It should be common sense that you don’t approach wild animals! I mean, DUH!! This chick needs an education. No freaking way do you talk to a bear like it’s a shy Golden Retriever! You make yourself big and loud and scary so the next time they see a person, they run away. And FYI – This is more for their protection than yours!! The bear that doesn’t have a healthy fear of humans is a bear that will ultimately face the same unfortunate fate as this bear did. Sad that people are just so incredibly dumb. I hope she learns her lesson and educates herself before she goes back outside.

  • John Krzeminski

    Euthanized these bears despite a 2000+ signature petition for them not to, all because some stupid bitch thought it would be a good idea to walk up to some wild bears. Unfortunately she evaded Darwinism that day and there wasn’t a mother bear around to maul her. God forbid they just relocated the bears but that would take, you know, actual effort. Enjoy your selfie you stupid asshole. “Environmental protection” my ass.

    • John Krzeminski

      Make that 70,000 signatures. It was at 2000 when I signed it.

  • Erin Ryder

    This is just ridiculous. This stupid ass person was so scared yet she taped it and put it on fb. Then she calls deep, but asks for them not to be harmed. Really what did she think was gonna happen? Yogi bear was gonna bring em a picnic basket? Apparently since they were tagged twice 3rd strike their out? Of course more wild life is coming into our woods, backyards, and neighborhood! It was there land first we’re destroying it, but they get shot? How the fuck does that work? Every time an animal be it a bear, moose or other large non-domesticated creature is spotted in the public I gets shot? this world is not only lacking serious common sense but apparently this world is also lacking thinking about the animals. I bet they see us and think we should be shot for taking THEIR land away? DEEP’s thought is their saving the public from harm. My thought is pure laziness! I guess relocation isn’t as easy or gas efficient enough so KILLING is the answer. you should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • Erin

    I’m so sorry that you’re a simple minded idiot. “Oh look there’s a bear, LET ME TAKE A SELFIE!

  • Mark h

    This literally just made me sick to my stomach…unreal even with all the video evidence they still killed this poor bear. This country is going right down the shitter. I just hope karma comes back around hard for this idiot lady. I also hope there’s video evidence of it.

  • Jim

    The tags come from being relocated from an airport and had no record of bad behavior, he was young and curious and at many times retreated to his brother, she made no attempt to scare or haze it,should have the cell phone shoved up her &%=÷.Moron.

  • Ordinary Guy

    bear meets cougar, ignores tats, but can’t stomach the smell.