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DEC: Bear was too aggressive, had to be killed

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DEC: Bear was too aggressive, had to be killed

The bear that had been up a tree in a Rotterdam neighborhood Saturday was killed because it became a
DEC: Bear was too aggressive, had to be killed
A large black bear sits in a tree in the Sunrise Estates development in Rotterdam on Saturday.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson

The bear that had been up a tree in a Rotterdam neighborhood Saturday was killed because it became aggressive, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said.

The bear had been monitored starting Friday evening, after it was spotted up the tree in the Sunrise Estates development, which is near the Thruway. The DEC used tranquilizer darts to get the bear to the ground.

Once out of the tree, the bear “exhibited aggressive behavior” and environmental conservation officers killed it.

“It is always a last resort to put a bear down and was necessary in this case to protect public safety,” the DEC statement read.

The DEC did not describe what the bear did to be deemed aggressive. DEC officials weren’t available to elaborate on their statement Monday.

A state DEC manual on responding to black bears did not appear to have a scenario that specifically matched the Rotterdam case. But it indicates that if a bear “could be expected to hurt someone without provocation,” steps should be taken to euthanize it. It also indicates that if it ever becomes “an actual threat to human safety” it should be euthanized.

Word spread about the bear throughout Saturday and a large crowd gathered to see it.

Beginning Saturday afternoon, a DEC biologist shot the bear with nearly 10 rounds of tranquilizers over about six hours, with no visible impact on the bruin.

It was about 8:30 p.m. when police used what was described as fireworks to get the bear to come down. The DEC manual describes pyrotechnics called “screamers” or “bird bangers.”

The witness described the bear as taking off running, then being shot in the front yard of a Horizon Boulevard home.

The manual also indicates that bears climb trees when threatened, then move on when that threat has passed — often climbing down at night, when people are not around. But the Rotterdam bear didn’t come down overnight. It stayed in the tree from late Friday afternoon to Saturday morning. That raised concerns that it might have been injured.

It was unclear what was to be done with the bear’s carcass. The manual indicates that in such situations, attempts should be made to use them in some way. It notes that schools or universities can sometimes use them for training. It also suggests checking with museums, municipalities or Native American tribes. As a last resort, the manual indicates, the carcass should be buried.

The Rotterdam bear was the latest of several to visit urban areas of the Capital Region in recent years.

In May, a bear that climbed a pine tree on Rose Court in Albany also ended up dead. That bear, which was tagged for being problematic before, was shot with tranquilizers and fell 70 feet before being euthanized by state Department of Environmental Conservation officials.

In 2012, a bear visited the Stockade in Schenectady. The DEC captured and released it in Delaware County. In another case that year, a bear that already been removed twice from Albany County returned a third time and was killed after it was found on the University at Albany campus.

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