WATCH: Aerial footage captured by a Global News helicopter captured the moment a police officer moved in and shot a black bear in the backyard of a Newmarket home.
TORONTO – Questions are being raised about what some are calling the unnecessary use-of-force after police shot and killed a black bear on Monday that was spotted wandering a Newmarket, Ont. neighbourhood north of Toronto over the weekend.
The animal was located in the backyard of a home on London Rd. around 6 a.m. near Yonge St. and Davis Dr. and had managed to climb up a tree.
Officers had the bear surrounded and were waiting for Ontario conservation staff to arrive prior to the shooting.
WATCH: A black bear managed to get itself stuck in a tree in the backyard of a Newmarket home Monday morning.
Police say the animal was climbing down when it was fatally shot just before 9 a.m.
“Bear began coming down from a tree and became a risk to people in the area,” tweeted York Regional Police. “Officers have shot the bear due to having no other options.”
Police said officers are not equipped with tranquilizers and “could not let the bear harm a person while waiting for MNR.”
Authorities had told Global News the bear would not be shot unless it became aggressive or threatened members of the public.
Ministry of Natural Resources supervisor John Almond told the media he received the call around 6:20 a.m. and dispatched a crew to the scene as soon as possible.
“Unfortunately, the bear decided it was going to come down out of the tree and because of public safety concerns, police felt that they needed to act, and they did, and that’s their call,” Almond said.
VIDEO: Supervisor tries to explain why MNR took over two hours to respond to bear in tree
Almond said his crew tracked the creature all weekend but were unable to catch it while roaming the area north of Toronto on Saturday and Sunday.
The animal could not be tranquilized until is was stationary, Almond added.
“It wasn’t until I got to the office, about quarter to eight, that we found out that the police in fact did have the bear in a tree. So that’s when we mobilized to come here,” Almond said.
Almond was told by police the bear started to move again and was subsequently shot.
“The bear wasn’t stationary. We advised police to keep us informed. They did and this is what happened this morning.”
News of the bear being shot on Monday garnered outrage on social media with many saying the use-of-force was excessive and more could have been done to relocate the animal back into its habitat.
VIDEO: Heckler targets cops while they bring Newmarket bear out in body bag
In a statement York Regional Police said officers banged on chairs and used a cruiser siren in an attempt to keep the bear in the tree so it could be tranquilized by MNR officials. The use of a conducted energy weapon, such as a Taser, was considered but, the statement said, officers could not safely get close enough to use the device.
“Officers were left with no choice but to use lethal force in order to preserve public safety.”
“The officers involved and York Regional Police regret the incident but there were no other options,” said Chief Eric Jolliffe. “Police officers are not equipped with tranquilizers nor are they trained on the containment of wild animals. We will be following up with the MNR in an attempt to improve the response to such incidents.”