Conservation officers said they did everything they could to save a bear that was euthanized in Saskatoon on Tuesday.
The bear was found up a tree in the Hudson Bay Industrial Park just before 6 a.m. CST. Conservation officers shot the bear with a tranquillizer and it fell out of the tree, crashing to the ground.
Eventually, the bear was euthanized after it had a bad reaction to a reversal drug.
Since the incident, members of the public have been critical of the officers’ approach to the situation. Some have wondered whether the bear could have been caught by a tarp or inflatable mattress.
“A 200-pound bear coming down from the top of the tree, it would take a good number of people to hold something like that,” said conservation officer Rich Hildebrand.
“As well, there’s the concern that the tranquillizer hadn’t totally set in, and the bear would be able to do some serious damage.”
Officers had considered finding a cherry-picker truck to take the bear out of the tree safely, but it fell out before officers could react.
Hildebrand said the bear was videotaped snoring after it was loaded into a bear trap while it was taken from the scene — proof that the animal survived the fall.
“They do fall out of trees, in nature, and survive,” he said. “They’re pretty tough animals.”
He said officers’ first priority was to make sure the public was safe. Considering there was a fairly large crowd gathering in the area, Hildebrand said police were ready to shoot the bear if they thought the public was at risk.
“There were some concerns it was going to get up and run,” he said.
“[Police] would have put it down, if it had got up.”
There have been recent bear sightings north of Saskatoon, but this is the first time one has been captured in city limits.