On May 16th at 10:00 a.m., several Burlington residents reported seeing a large black bear in the area of Mountainside Park. The park is heavily forested, contains a children’s playground and is surrounded by many residential homes and schools.
Uniform officers responded to the vicinity, set up a containment area and notified neighbouring elementary schools of the ongoing incident, to ensure that there would be no risk posed to children.
The Ministry of Natural Resources were contacted regarding this sighting as well as the previous bear sighting in Milton.
“MNR personnel advised police that in order to immobilize a bear to relocate it, it needs to be contained up a tree and not in a densely populated residential area,” explained Sgt. Dave Cross.
“MNR officials said it can take up to 15 to 20 minutes for immobilization to take effect, and the bear can be actively on the move and still pose a threat during this time which is why this method is not suitable for residential areas.”
As such, MNR personnel advised police that they were unable to attend the scene to assist.
City of Burlington – Animal Control were also contacted and did attend the scene, but were not equipped to be able to safely resolve the situation.
Neither police nor the City of Burlington – Animal Control are equipped with or trained in the use of large animal tranquilizer guns or traps, or wild animal relocation.
Police attempted to engage the assistance of other private enterprises that may have had the training and equipment to respond, but none were available to attend in a timely manner.
At 11:20 a.m., the bear was sighted by police. Officers tracked its movements and saw it was exiting the forested area of the park into a residential area. The bear was seen again within 30 feet of a local residence. At that point, due to overwhelming community safety concerns, the bear had to be dispatched by officers.
It has been removed by City of Burlington – Animal Control.
The bear was an adult male weighing between 300 to 400 pounds.
“We empathize with those members of the public who are distressed by today’s events. Our officers do not relish having to dispatch an animal, but our options were extremely limited. Given the particular circumstances, we could not risk public safety as the bear moved deeper into residential areas,” said Public Affairs Sgt. Dave Cross.
SOURCE: Halton Regional Police
Image courtesy of @media371