A Black Bear Is Tragically Shot & Killed While Trying To Escape Law Enforcement In Palm Beach, Florida
It is with a heavy heart that WAN shares the following statement from the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Department in Florida, after a black bear was tragically shot and killed in a residential neighborhood over the weekend.
As per the department, they were called to the area of Crestwood Blvd. just west of Royal Palm Beach Blvd. located in Royal Beach, on Saturday. There, they found a large black bear, approximately six feet tall and 300 pounds. The bear was walking around the neighborhood before it climbed a tree in a backyard. While attempting to keep an eye on the bear, Florida Fish and Wildlife officers arrived.
According to the statement, “Deputies spoke with a resident in the 100 block of Belmont Drive who stated that she and her husband were inside their house with their three kids when they heard a dog bark. When they went outside, the resident noticed the black bear inside her covered back porch, approximately five feet from her back slider, an area where her kids normally play. The bear continued to walk around towards the south side of the house. After a few seconds of the bear leaving her view, she saw the bear directly next to the porch. The bear had climbed a tall tree. After a few minutes, the bear came down and continued to walk towards her residence. An hour later, a second deputy arrived at Crestwood Blvd. just west of Royal Palm Beach Blvd., where he secured a perimeter spot at the southwest corner of Huntington Woods development in reference to locating and containing a black bear that was loose in the Saratoga Lakes development.
“The deputy then relocated his vehicle to the front of that residence in an attempt to contain the bear. Moments later, the deputy was advised that the bear had climbed a tall tree in the 900 block of Crestwood Blvd. so he then repositioned his vehicle to that location and assisted additional deputies and FWC officers who had taken control of the scene to keep the flow of traffic moving and also to keep the public away to a reasonable distance for not only their safety, but the bear’s as well.
“PBSO’s Drone unit also arrived on the scene to help locate the bear, who was seen coming out of the bushes and then climbed a large pine tree, approximately 50 feet in the air. The bear stayed in the tree while FWC officers stood at the bottom of the tree to make sure the bear did not climb down. PBSO’s role was to assist FWC Officers until they were able to locate a trapper, tranquilize the bear and relocate it. However, after several hours of waiting for a bear trapper and/or a tranquilizer, from FWC, we were faced with a very difficult decision.
“At 12:25 pm, the bear began to climb down the tree. Deputies and FWC Officers made loud noises in hopes the bear would climb back up the tree. But the bear began to get restless and climb back down the tree. Unfortunately, the bear had NO place to roam safely! The incident location and surrounding area are in residential neighborhoods and fearing the bear would roam into the residential communities and pose a further risk, we were faced with the incredibly difficult decision to discharge our firearm, striking the bear, for the sake of public safety. Sadly, the bear passed away,” concluded the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Department.
There were nonlethal ways to secure the situation and allow the bear to live and be relocated safely. WAN talked with Arielle Callender, a Public Information Director for the South Region of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission which reportedly agrees that the bear should not have been shot. WAN is awaiting a statement from the commission.
“It is truly heartbreaking that situations such as this are becoming more common. Wild animals are being pushed out of their natural habitat for human development and are being shot and killed because they have nowhere left to go. These animals are in search of food and a wild place to live and raise their young. We must educate the public and law enforcement to come up with viable solutions in order to coexist with our beautiful wild species and not be so quick to grab a gun and kill them out of fear,” stated Katie Cleary, Founder and President of Peace 4 Animals.
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