Black bear caught in busy Ontario suburb
Published Wednesday, May 28, 2008 7:32PM EDT
A black bear was caught Wednesday afternoon roaming a heavily populated Ontario suburb.
The bear was tranquilized by officials with the Ministry of Natural Resources at around 4 p.m. after being loose in the Pickering area for about two days.
The animal has since come to and is being transported back into the wild.
The bear was first spotted in the Storrington Street and Glennanna Road area in south Pickering Tuesday night, said David Selby, the director of corporate communication with Durham Regional Police.
Police could not locate the bear but returned to the scene Wednesday morning when two more people reported seeing the animal, close to where Vaughan Willard Public School is located.
"It's quite an urban area -- very built-up," Selby told CTV.ca. "The Pickering Town Centre is just a few blocks away."
The bear, described by Selby as being six feet tall and weighing about 250 lbs, was caught on the west side of a creek in Pinecreek Park. Before that, several residents reported seeing it going from backyard to backyard.
"I saw it in the corner of my yard by the shed and it came around and went up the side," said resident Kathy Kehler.
Administrators at Vaughan Willard and William Dunbar Public Schools told students to stay inside at recess on Wednesday. Children who usually walk home were not allowed to leave the school until their parents came to pick them up.
Students were sent home with a letter to parents explaining the situation.
As a precaution, students were given a few safety tips as well. They were told to avoid wooded areas and to keep headphones off their ears.
Residents were told to stay inside their homes but curiosity got the better of some of them who gathered on the street to watch officials close in on the animal.
"I was in shock," said resident Tom Kakamousias. "I couldn't believe it, I thought it was a dog at first. It looked at me, I looked at it, I looked at it again...I went to open the door and it took off."
Selby said bears are rarely seen in Durham region.
"I have no idea where the bear came from," he said. "He's a wild bear and they're hungry after hibernation. They travel far distances (looking for food)."
John Pisapio, a biologist with the Ministry, said the bear probably got lost looking for food.
"That bear had no interest in being here," he told CTV Toronto. "It probably found its way from the north and then got lost and then had no way of finding its way back to the north."
With a report from CTV Toronto's Janice Golding