Police In Newton Fatally Shoot Bear In Tree

NEWTON, Mass. — State environmental police have shot and killed a bear in a tree over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton.

A police officer on Sunday morning used a fire truck ladder to reach the bear, which was 40 feet up in the tree.

“[Officers] determined they were going to try and tranquilize it or immobilize it. They were unsuccessful because of the thick foliage of the trees… So our senior officer made a decision because of the urban environment and because of the population in that area to euthanize the bear,” explained Lt. Col. Chris Baker of the Massachusetts Environmental Police.

Baker said euthanizing an animal is a last resort.

It was previously reported that tranquilizer shots were fired, but Baker affirmed that no such shots actually were fired.

“When we tranquilize a bear or immobilize it, we need to be certain the dart is going to hit. The drugs in the dart are very dangerous,” he said.

Baker also noted that the bear population is increasing in the state.

“As the bear population increases and as urban sprawl increases, we’ve kind of had more of these incidents where bears are traveling into urban environments.”

Baker described the bear as a male, weighing 100 to 125 pounds.

“We try to salvage the meat,” Baker said. “What we do is try to get that to a local sportsman’s club, and they can process it and share the meat with charities and food shelters and such.”

With reporting from the WBUR Newsroom and the Associated Press.

This post has been corrected to reflect that no tranquilizer shots were fired.

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  • Kate Ellis


  • disqus_hBAKhLqjKF

    sounds like you blew off a good opportunity to give a defenseless

    animal.a second chance ….

  • Dee Stonewall

    Holy crap! Massachusetts state environmental police shot a defenseless animal caught up in a tree where it sought refuge in fright? Again, HOLY CRAP! Are we sure this was not merely expedience on the behalf of the environmental police, or cost effective means? Or are all the facts not told in this story?

    • Dee Stonewall

      And, oh, yeah, as this story is told, the more a bear camouflages itself in a tree, then the more likely it is to get a death sentence? Umm, what’s wrong w/ this picture?

  • Terence J Harrist

    Watertown police shoot terrorists. Newton police shoot a bear in a tree. Sometimes, a little patience and tincture of time are the best choice in a difficult situation. Expediency cost the bear his life. The police should be ashamed.

    • Mare Tomaski

      THANK YOU TERENCE! I think it is unconscionable that they shot that bear and they can tell themselves what ever they want to make themselves feel better (we use the meat, killing the bear was a last resort, the bear population is growing, urban sprawl..blah blah blah) the bottom line is they deemed that this bear’s life held little value or they would have tried harder and not been so hasty. I agree they could have waited for a while. He may have climbed down on his own or climbed down to a lower branch if they left him alone for a time, perhaps set a watch upon the tree quietly and waited. But you see a bear is of no consequence, it’s just “a bear”. Makes me sick in my heart…

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