Toronto police say it was not their first option to shoot and kill a bear which was roaming through a residential area of the city late Friday night.
Police said they began receiving reports of a bear being sighted in the Malvern neighbourhood of Scarborough around 10 p.m. The animal, which according to unconfirmed eyewitness reports was an adult black bear weighing about 300 pounds, was rummaging through backyards, and at one point banged on the door of a residence.
The bear was eventually tracked down in the Middlefield and McCowan Road area and police say they began exploring ways of safely capturing the bear.
Police attempted to contact the city’s animal control services but were told they were not equipped to deal with such a situation. They then reached out to the Ministry of Natural Resources, but given the time of the night, they were not an option either.
A local veterinarian contacted police and volunteered to tranquilize the animal but they did not have the proper cage to put the animal into nor was one readily available.
Emergency Task Force officers were then called in to shoot the bear, which police stress was done in the interest of public safety.
“It was certainly not the first option to shoot and kill the bear,” Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook tells CityNews.
“Public safety is our priority, that is a very populated residential area and we’re concerned about the people that live there and that is our priority.”
There were no reports of any people or pets being injured.
Police had no immediate information about where the bear came from or its gender.
The Toronto Zoo said none of its bears are missing.
Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources said there have been other bear sightings in the GTA over the past few days, but none in Toronto proper until now.
The ministry is advising residents in the area to secure garbage and compost as the animal may be foraging for food.