The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission seem to be having a different version of what led deputies to shoot and kill a young black bear after surrounding it high in a tree for hours.
This Saturday, we were called to the area of Crestwood Blvd just west of Royal Palm Beach Blvd located in Royal Beach, where there was a large black bear, approximately 6′ feet and 300 pounds hanging around. The bear was walking around before it climbed a tree in a backyard along Crestwood Blvd. While attempting to keep an eye on the bear, FWC Officers arrived.FB Sheriff’s Department
When sheriff deputies arrived, a resident said she heard her dog barking, and when she went outside she spotted the juvenile black bear inside of her back porch. After walking around, the bear just sat by the water and according to residents – did not look aggressive at all. When the bear came out of the bushes, he climbed a large pine tree approximately 50 feet high. Officers stayed at the bottom of the tree to make sure the bear didn’t climb down while they called upon Florida Wish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to send a bear trapper and/or a tranquilizer.
Hours later when the bear descended from the tree, officers shot him four times; the bear died.
…we were faced with a very difficult decision. At 12:25 pm, the bear began to climb down the tree. Deputies and FWC Officers made loud noises in hopes the bear would climb back up the tree. But the bear began to get restless and climb back down the tree. Unfortunately, the bear had NO place to roam safely! The incident location and surrounding area are residential neighborhoods and fearing the bear would roam into the residential communities and pose a further risk to the community, we were faced with the incredibly difficult decision to discharge our firearm, striking the bear, for the sake of public safety. Sadly, the bear passed away.FB Sheriff’s Department
And now faced with angry residents who do not understand why the bear had to be killed and just couldn’t be left alone until he wandered off back into the woods, the sheriff’s office released its incident reports stating they had to act because wildlife officials did not.
According to WptvNews, deputies stated the FWC, at the location, told them to kill the bear if it came down from the tree prior to a trapper arriving. Deputies tried for hours to keep the bear up in the tree until help for him could arrive.
The sheriff’s department did reach out to Lion Country Safari and other large animal refuges to find a trapper after FWC allegedly refused.
And then the orders changed, according to deputies who said the FWC told them to back away, watch the bear until night time and let him wander away by himself. Instead a sheriff lieutenant ordered deputies to shoot the bear when his paws hit the ground.
The spokesperson for the sheriff’s department stated the wildlife experts should have taken control of the situation and safely removed the bear.
We are not the bear police. We don’t know how to handle a bear. It is our responsibility to keep the public safe.PBSO
The sheriff’s department is now working on a plan if they are required to respond to bear calls which include equipping themselves with training and tranquilizers.
The FWC will be submitting their full report this week.
Rest in peace poor bear.
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