The killing of a young black bear who wandered up a tree in Newton Sunday ignited a firestorm of comments and some misinformation.
The bear that found its way to the top of a tree Sunday morning near Washington Street and the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton was killed by environmental police after they determined it to be a public safety hazard.
Boston.com reported that Massachusetts Environmental Police said they were
"unsuccessful in their efforts to 'immobilize' the bear with tranquilizers," because of the thick foliage at the top of the tree where the bear had climbed and the limited range of the tranquilizer guns.
Lt. Bruce Apotheker, public information officer for the Newton PD, said the department received a call about the bear early Sunday morning and quickly contacted the Environmental Police in Natick for assistance while responding to the scene along with the Newton Fire Department.
Beyond responding, however, the Newton Police left the situation in the hands of the environmental police.
"Our involvement is always to assist the agency in whatever way we can," Apotheker said. "In this particular instance, this was their deal. Newton Police had no part in the actions that were taken on this day. That was left to the experts with the environmental police."
Lt. Col. Chris Baker of the Massachusetts Environmental Police told WBUR that the drugs in tranquilizer darts are incredibly dangerous and officers must be sure they will hit their target before using such darts. In this case, Baker said, no darts were fired because of the foliage and lack of clear shot.
He added that euthanizing an animal is a last resort, but it was one the senior officer had to make in this situation.
The black bear, which was a 1-year-old male according to the Globe, fell onto the train tracks below.
Baker told WBUR that the Mass. Environmental Police try to salvage the meat in a situation such as this by giving it to a local sportsmen's club to process and donate and share with area charities.
Did you see the commotion Sunday or witness the situation unfold? Do you feel as though wildlife and Newton residents are interacting with more frequency nowadays? What do you