A large black bear caused quite a rumble around Laity View Elementary early Monday morning but was safely tranquilized and relocated.
A resident of the Laity View area, Kristin Ignacz, told The News about the bear-sighting that jolted everyone in and around the area. Ignacz’s husband first spotted the bear from their window in the neighbour’s yard at around 7:45 a.m.
“He called our kids to the window. It was such a large bear and it is the first we have seen on our street since moving in six years ago,” said Ignacz.
The bear was very close to the elementary school right around the corner, however, Ignacz hesitated before reporting the bear sighting.
“I hesitated to call the police as I was concerned they would euthanize it. At the same time, we live directly around the corner from Laityview Elementary and hundreds of children pass by here on their way to school. Our of concern for the children that would be arriving shortly, we called the non-emergency line,” she said.
The school authorities also released information and said they wanted to thank the school community for adapting quickly as they modified their morning routine and invited children in early after learning they had a bear on their property.
“The RCMP and Conservation Officers are on-site and sounding bear bangers to help the bear safely relocate away from the school and residential areas. Students will be kept inside until we know the bear has moved away from our neighborhood,” said the school update from Principal Kristi Blakeway.
Conservation Officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said that the bear, instead of moving out of the area after hearing the bear bangers, decided to move up a tree. He also said that the bear was in a very precarious position as there was a concrete step underneath the tree and had the bear been tranquilized and fallen off the tree, it could’ve gotten hurt or worse.
“We got several gym mats from Laity View school to pad on and around the front steps. We also set-up a special tarp to catch the bear as it fell. We were then able to safely remove it,” said Hunter, “We kept him overnight for observation and determined that there was no significant pattern or issues with him, and decided to relocate him.”
The bear was relocated Tuesday.
Ignacz, who witnessed the entire encounter, said she was impressed that the police showed up within minutes, blocked the street, and alerted Laity View Elementary, and that the conservation officers demonstrated incredible patience after the bear bangers failed to scare the bear away and pushed him further up the tree he had climbed.
“I was impressed by the diligence and patience the officers showed. When a bear is near an elementary school, it is a no-win situation, but their patience and efforts resulted in the best possible outcome to this story,” she said.
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