Bear roaming in residential Saint John area shot by police

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A black bear like this one was spotted Sunday and Monday in Saint John. (File photo/Submitted by Cam Briffett  - image credit)
A black bear like this one was spotted Sunday and Monday in Saint John. (File photo/Submitted by Cam Briffett - image credit)

A bear wandering through a residential area of west Saint John was shot and killed by police Monday night.

Officers responded at about 8:30 to calls from residents of Amy Crescent, police spokesperson Sean Rocca said.

Callers reported a black bear roaming through front and backyards in the area, where pedestrians were walking and children were playing.

"They located the bear on someone's yard and attempted to scare the bear back into a wooded area, but it was undeterred," Rocca said.

When the bear began "to advance on the officers," they shot it, Rocca said.

"Once the bear was approximately 10 feet away and still advancing, the officers had no choice but to put the bear down," he said.

Amy Crescent is on the edge of a subdivision off Manawagonish Road that presses up against woods on two sides.

On Sunday, police warned people of a bear that had been spotted near a children's play area by the Irving Nature Park, 1.5 kilometres from Amy Crescent.

Rocca said police haven't been able to confirm if the bear they shot was the same bear sighted Sunday.

Provincial wildlife officers had already set up a bear trap near the nature park.

Nick Brown, spokesperson with the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development, said department staff picked up a carcass of a black bear Tuesday morning.

"There is no way to confirm that this bear is the one that has been causing some local nuisance problems in the area recently," Brown said.

"Any forested area of the province is habitat to be used or visited by black bears and other wildlife, so the public should continue to be aware of the possibility of encounters with wild animals when using those areas."

Brown said bears are often attracted to forest-surrounded residential areas because of garbage and bird feeders, for example.

Couldn't wait for wildlife officers

Rocca said under normal circumstances, provincial wildlife officials with the Department of Natural Resources would be called to handle the situation such as the one on Amy Crescent.

"Unfortunately, in this case, DNR was not able to respond before the bear had to be put down," he said.

Rocca said conservation officers were called before police, but police showed up first.

He said police were called at 8:28 p.m., arrived at 8:41 p.m., found the bear at 8:47 p.m., and shot it a minute later.

"Based on the timeline, there was little time for additional resources to arrive at the scene before the bear became a threat to the safety of others, including the police," he said.

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