PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Deputies were forced to shoot and kill a black bear in Palm Beach County after a resident was fearful for herself and her family when the animal got too close for comfort near her home and others.
According to the sheriff’s office, a deputy was sent to a bear sighting in Royal Beach.
When the deputy arrived, they saw a large black bear. The sheriff’s office estimated the bear was around 6 feet and 300 pounds.
The deputy tried to keep an eye on the bear, but lost sight of it as it continued in to another residential area.
The bear continued to wander around before climbing a tree with a baby swing and trampoline underneath it, according to the sheriff’s office.
The bear rested in the tree before climbing down and continuing along through backyards.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers arrived on scene.
The PBSO deputy spoke with a resident who said she and her husband were inside their home with their three young children.
After hearing her dog bark, the resident saw the black bear inside her covered porch, approximately five feet from her back slider, where her kids usually play, the sheriff’s office reported.
“The bear looked in her direction which placed her in fear for her and her family’s life,” the report from the sheriff’s office said.
The woman lost sight of the bear after it briefly rested in another tree.
Other residents saw the bear at 9:54 a.m. at their home. The deputy drove to the front of their home in attempt to contain the bear. The deputy repositioned the vehicle to another tree the bear had climbed to help other deputies and FWC officers who had taken control of the scene, to keep the flow of traffic moving and the public away.
Drone units arrived to try and find the bear. It was seen coming out of some bushes and climbing up a tree, approximately 50 feet in the air.
The sheriff’s office said the bear stayed in the tree while FWC officers stood at the bottom to make sure it did not climb down. Deputies assisted FWC officers until they were able to find a trapper, tranquilize the bear and relocate it.
The report said after several hours of waiting for a trapper or tranquillizer, officers had no luck.
The bear began to climb down the tree around 12:25 p.m. Deputies and officers made loud noises to scare the bear back up the tree, but the bear began to get restless.
The bear climbed down the tree once again and deputies were forced to shoot the bear.
“It should be noted that 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/or impede traffic flow on the adjacent roadways PBSO was faced with making the decision to discharge their shotguns striking and killing the bear,” according to the report.