The IT Parade - Black Bear Tied to a Post
To the man who reportedly climbed a tree, grabbed a bear cub and tied it to a post, Sudbury police have a question.
“Why would you do that?” asked Staff Sgt. Rick Waugh. “I’m not sure what that person was thinking.”
On Saturday afternoon, police were called to a credit union in the city’s northeast where a baby black bear was tied to a post.
Witnesses told police a man climbed a tree and removed the bear before tying it tightly with grounding cable.
The cub, weighing about 15 pounds, was struggling when police arrived.
“It was having a hard time breathing because the strap that was used to secure it was wrapped around its throat and the bear got more and more tangled,” said Waugh.
“Once it was released it was not very steady on its feet.”
An officer cut the bear free and it is now in the care of the Ministry of Natural Resources and will be treated at a wildlife rehabilitation centre, where it could stay until next year.
Police are looking for the man who tied the bear, seen driving away in a red Dodge Durango truck. They believe he got cut or scratched.
“The claws on this thing are significant,” said Waugh. “If they grab a hold of you with their feet … it’s going to hurt.
“This is not a little stuffed animal.”
The mother bear was nearby when the incident occurred and police are reminding the public that mother bears can become aggressive when trying to protect their cubs.
Waugh said police could lay criminal charges for animal cruelty but only if the man’s intention was to hurt the bear.
“We’re definitely investigating to see who the person is to find out a) if they’re OK and b) what they were thinking,” he said.
“Until we find the guy and talk to him we’re not going to know his intent.”
The ministry is also investigating to see if there is any violation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, which prohibits chasing and harassing wildlife.
Sudbury is known as a busy bear centre.
The black bear population in Ontario has remained “healthy” at around 95,000 bears, second only to British Columbia, said Natural Resources spokesperson Jolanta Kowalski.
“We’ve had an early spring this year so bears were out of hibernation earlier than they would normally,” she said.
The ministry has recorded 31 bear occurrences in the GTA so far this year, compared with 27 last year in the same period, from April up to June 2.
Across the province there have been 1,323 occurrences, which means calls have been placed to the ministry’s Bear Wise line. Last year at this time there were 952 occurrences.