Imagine going for a walk just outside your house in one of Toronto’s densely populated neighbourhoods and seeing a 300-pound adult black bear. What would you do?
Last night there were several sightings of a bear reported in Scarborough
around the McCowan and Finch area. That is about 9 kilometres from the Metropolitan Toronto Zoo and only 4 kilometres from the busy Scarborough Town Centre, one of Toronto’s major regional shopping centres.
It is doubtful whether the bear was a tourist looking for a good deal, as it was found rummaging through backyards and even knocking on the door of one of the resident’s. The Metro Zoo claims that its not their bear as they have none missing. It is also unlikely that the bear was a stray pet.
Toronto Police called in the Emergency Task Force, who shot the bear to death in the name of public safety. It is unknown as to whether any attempt was made to contact qualified individuals from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Metropolitan Toronto Zoo, or Animal Control, who may have had better knowledge, experience and tools other than guns to manage the situation.
Interestingly, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has been aware of other bear sightings in the Toronto Area over the past few days, but none in City of Toronto boundaries until this incident.
Since the ministry halted the “trap and relocate program” in 2012, bear sightings in the GTA have been increasingly. As early as 2013, the then New Democrat MPP John Vanthof had said during question that budget cuts are putting lives at risk and forcing people to defend themselves in an encounter with the potentially deadly animals. Liberal Premier’s Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne have not placed much focus on Natural Resources.
Enjoy your next evening stroll in your neighbourhood.