Melissa's Blog

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I keep hearing these random wildlife in the city stories, but this one is especially interesting as it takes place in my home town. Poor little guy, he's probably just confused and lost. Let's hope we can get him off the streets safe and sound. The included image is the trail the bear has taken thus far. At the bottom I've included some cute black bear stock images, I believe our little guy has been proven quite camera shy

Bear Still on the Loose


WATERLOO REGION (May 31, 2006)

Police are waiting for a definite sighting of the elusive bear tracking its way south through Waterloo Region before they launch another large-scale hunt.

Believing they were closing in on the animal, police evacuated a Cambridge city park earlier this week.

The search came up empty. And despite the loose path travelled by what is believed to be a young male black bear, little else is known about the animal's current location.

"The bear has simply outfoxed us," Insp. Bryan Larkin of Waterloo regional police said yesterday, after things had settled down on the bear front.

"There's not much we can do right now because we don't know where he is."

There have been at least six suspected sightings of the bear over the past week, including two by police. Possibly originating from the Bruce Peninsula, the bear was first seen in West Montrose. It has since trekked through Maryhill, Breslau, Kitchener and Cambridge.

Ministry of Natural Resources officials believe the young male bear weighs no more than 54 to 68 kilograms.

It hasn't been deemed a nuisance or problem bear, said ministry official Bill Murch.

"It's more at risk than the public is," he said, explaining the bear would be in trouble if it wandered onto a busy road or Highway 401.

Police are now relying on the public to alert them to the bear's whereabouts. If the bear pops up again, they'll be ready.

Members of the ministry's bear unit, who drove in from Aurora on Monday with a steel trap in tow, would have to be called back to the region to capture the animal.

"We're continuing to assess how accurate sightings are," Murch said. "People may be getting excited and mistaking another animal for the bear."

Dozens of youth sporting events were cancelled Monday when police, city and provincial officials staked out Riverside Park in Cambridge.

Although the bear wasn't found, city council members meeting that night said the situation was well-handled. "It's a huge inconvenience, but would you want your kids in there with a bear running around?" Jim King, the community services commissioner, asked. "It's a safety issue."

There are 12 soccer fields and eight baseball diamonds in Riverside Park. With at least one game booked on each playground Monday night, and 15 players for each team involved, at least 600 children and adults were directly affected by the hunt. Probably more, if players' friends and family are added in.

An afternoon school soccer tournament was also shut down, and some people were prevented from returning to work in the park after lunch.

King has worked in the city since 1975 and can't remember a situation like the one that unfolded Monday.

"I don't think we've ever closed a city park. We've never had a bear in a city park." Anyone who spots a bear should immediately call police or the province's Bear Wise line at 1-866-514-BEAR (2327).



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