Wesleyan alumnus Peter Shumlin ’79, the sitting Democratic Governor of Vermont, mounted a daring rescue of his bird-feeders in the face of staunch opposition represented by four bears on Wednesday night. As he was falling asleep at his home in the Vermont capital Montpelier, a group of blackbears entered the area and began assaulting his bird-feeders, hoping to capture the tasty birdseed held within. Unarmed and slightly groggy, Shumlin shouted at the bears to scare them off but upon the bears’ repeated return was forced to remove the bird-feeders from their vulnerable tactical position and secure them within the safety of his house. The bears put up stiff and aggressive resistance: “I was within three feet of getting ‘arrrh'” Shumlin stated afterwards. “You almost lost the governor. Security was not there.”
Nevertheless, Shumlin did manage to safely recover most of the bird-seed and the feeders, and was not harmed. He may now continue his bird-feeding hobby, which he says remains his “only connection to nature” while in the city. Vermont’s Fish and Wildlife Department, however, has urged homeowners throughout the state not to use bird-feeders at this time of year, citing the general abundance of food for birds and the attractiveness of birdseed to bears coming out of hibernation. The full story can be found here on Vemont Public Radio.