A young black bear spotted in Whitby on the weekend is being released into the wild on Monday after it was tranquillized, put in a cage, held overnight and driven to a remote location north of the Greater Toronto Area.
Jolanta Kowalski, senior media relations officer for Ontario's natural resources ministry, said the bear will be left in an area where there is food and a suitable habitat.
Kowalski said ministry staff worked with Whitby's Animal Control Services and Durham Regional Police Service to contain the bear on Sunday and achieve what she called a "positive outcome."
"We are always pleased when these situations can be resolved safely and the bear does not have to be euthanized," she said in an email on Monday.
Dave Selby, spokesperson for Durham Regional Police Service, said police are "happy" that the Whitby bear was not killed.
Selby said the case cannot be compared to the Scarborough bear, which was shot to death by Toronto police in a backyard in May. Toronto police were unable to secure the help of Ontario conservation officers, the Toronto Zoo and Toronto's Animal Services.
"We have shot bears before," Selby said on Monday. "It really depends on the threat to public safety. If you have a bear wandering on a street, and there are children nearby, you have a threat.
"We are happy that it ended this way, but we don't always have the luxury of time."
Bear climbed tree in a backyard
Selby said Durham police received calls about several bears spotted on Sunday morning in Pringle Creek Park in residential Whitby, near Manning Road and Garden Street. Police could not locate the pack, he said.
Some time later, police were told that one of the bears had made its way into a backyard some distance away on Intrepid Drive, near Rossland Road East and Anderson Street, and climbed a tree.
Residents are reminded to remain vigilant. If bear is sighted, do not approach & call police.— @DRPS
The other bears had left the area.
Ontario's natural resources ministry, which responds to calls about bears in populated areas in the province, dispatched Whitby Animal Control Services to the scene, he said. The bear, still holed in the tree, was shot with tranquillizer darts.
Bear climbed down when it got 'groggy'
"It was groggy and climbed down," Selby said. "It took four strong police officers to get the bear into a special cage."
The cage was put in an Ontario Natural Resources Ministry truck and the bear driven away to a safe location where it was held overnight.
According to Warren Mar, the commissioner, for legal, bylaw and animal services for the Town of Whitby, the bear was identified as a male black bear, about one year old or two years old, weighing about 120 to 150 pounds.
One Whitby resident tweeted a short video of the bear outside her house. The bear's eyes can be seen in the dark.