In the early morning hours of May 29th, Barrie Police and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) officers tracked a black bear that was moving its way through the City of Barrie. The whole thing lasted four hours and eventually led to the animal being pacified and captured with no harm coming to it or anyone else.
Related: Police and Natural Resource officers track bear through South Barrie for over four hours Friday morning
We reached out to the MNRF who graciously answered a few questions concerning the bear:
Q: What kind of tranquilizer is used? Is there a risk of overdosing or otherwise harming the bear?
A: The bear was immobilized using an injectable anesthetic. Specific Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry staff are trained and experienced in chemical immobilization and able to determine the necessary dosages to safely undertake this activity. Once the bear has been immobilized MNRF staff diligently monitor it for any signs of distress.
Q: Does the animal have any cubs that the Ministry is aware of?
A: The bear that was captured was a young adult male bear. Bears cubs may stay with the adult female throughout their first year, but male bears are solitary.
Q: What was it doing there in the first place? What would it be thinking as it was being pursued?
A: Black bears live throughout most of Ontario and are present in the rural and natural areas surrounding Barrie. Bears can travel long distances and may have wandered into Barrie while searching for food. If natural foods are not readily available, bears will look for other food sources. Bears are curious animals but also elusive and shy. A bear that found itself in a busy urban area would likely be fearful and would seek to find an escape route or try to hide.
Q: How will the animal be released and in what setting?
The bear was relocated in a trap and was released on a large tract of Crown land with suitable habitat for the species.
Q: What should people do in the future, should a bear wander through their backyard?
A: Not every bear sighting is an emergency situation. If you see a bear and it is not a threat, you can report it to the Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327. If a bear poses an immediate threat to public safety by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behavior, the public should call 911 or the local police.
More information on being BearWise and preventing bear encounters can be found at https://www.ontario.ca/page/prevent-bear-encounters-bear-wise.