Bear spotted in west London tree tranquilized, captured safely
LONDON, ONT. -- The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and London police have successfully tranquilized and captured a bear that had set up camp in a tree in the west end of the city after an initial sighting earlier Monday morning.
The bear was spotted in a tree in the 1300 block of Commissioners Road West, drawing a crowd to the area.
Before MNR officials arrived, the bear reportedly began climbing down the tree and -- amid concern for those gathered to watch -- police shot it in the leg.
It then climbed back up the tree, and police say the injury to the bear appears to be superficial.
Around 3 p.m., the MNR reportedly shot the bear with a tranquilizer, but when -- an hour later -- it hadn't fallen asleep, it was shot again.
Ministry officials settled in to wait for the bear to fall unconscious. At 9:30 p.m., they fired two more tranquilizer darts at it, and the bear reportedly came down, fell into a tarp and was able to be taken away unharmed.
Neighbour Lise Whealy said this wasn’t the way she expected to start her Monday morning.
“Everyone is curious, some people got pictures,” she told CTV News before the bear’s evening capture. “Our goal is to keep the kids safe, hopefully remove the bear and take it somewhere safe without it being injured.”
The presence of the bear attracted many onlookers, including the Heussner family.
Jeff Heussner says, “We have quite a fascination with wildlife in Canada, it’s not every day you see bears in this area. We wanted to get some snapshots at a safe distance. As long as we listen to MNR I think we’ll be OK.”
The MNR described their ‘best-case scenario’ earlier in the day, saying the bear would be relocated in Ontario once it was successfully tranquilized.
Police say that they were initially contacted after a resident said they saw a bear near the bridge on Oxford Street, west of Sanatorium Road.
The visit from a bear in the Byron area is not unprecedented. In 2010, a bear sighting in the same area caused two schools to be locked down.
In that incident the bear was shot and killed by police after an officer was charged by the bear.
Experts say if you see a bear, the important thing is to remember to remain calm and avoid panicking. Slowly back away while keeping the bear in sight and wait for it to leave. If the bear does not leave, wave your arms and make noise.
If a bear is posing a threat or exhibits threatening behavior call 911, otherwise non-emergency encounters can be reported to the Bear Wise line at 1-866-514-2327.
With files from CTV's Justin Zadorsky and Amanda Taccone