A bear which caused a stir on Sunday after it was seen running loose in Dorval has been euthanized, according to the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.
The animal control group which was on the scene to help orchestrate the bear’s safe capture before it was taken away by wildlife agents expressed shock that the animal had been put down.
In a Facebook post made Monday evening, Sauvetage Animal Rescue said it only learned the bear had been put down through media reports.
“At the end of the operation [Sunday], we were informed that the bear would be set free away from the city,” reads the post.
“We weren’t contacted by the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks to say that another decision had been made. For our part, we are in contact with several refuges that could have taken the young bear if release was not possible.”
According to the ministry, the bear was deemed to be unafraid of humans and thus, posed a public safety risk if returned to the wild.
The bear was about 18 months old, making it a subadult and not a cub, the ministry said in a statement Tuesday.
The problems of co-habitation with bears are not always linked to a high density of the species, but rather to the animal becoming accustomed to human activities, the statement said.
According to the ministry, this is the first time that provincial wildlife agents have responded to a bear report on the island of Montreal.
Animal rescue groups wanted to release bear in wild
Steven Amorosa, who works with Sauvetage Animal Rescue, said the last he heard, the plan was to release the bear in a remote part of the Laurentians.
“We were hoping that the bear was going to be relocated somewhere away from the city so that kind of thing wouldn’t happen again,” he said.
Amorosa doubted that the bear would have posed a significant danger so far away, especially considering he was only about a year-and-a-half old.
“In the Laurentians, in the woods, I doubt there’s a lot of people around.”
Amorosa said he was “very disappointed” that no efforts were made to contact his group or to brainstorm solutions.
“We had people that were willing to take the bear in,” said Amorosa. “We do have resources around that could have taken care of him instead of having to put the bear down.”
Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks says the option of placing the bear refuge or zoo was ruled out for several reasons.
One being that keeping an animal like a bear in a refuge can be dangerous to humans, it said in the statement, and “life in captivity is not an optimal solution for these animals and could seriously affect their well-being.”
WATCH | Animal rescue worker says captured bear did not need to be euthanized