News

Petition launched over Newmarket bear shooting

By Jenny Yuen, Toronto Sun

Angry animal lovers have launched a petition in the wake of the fatal shooting of a bear in Newmarket by York Regional Police.

The petition, created by Elena Kashevska, is pushing for police and the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) to find new solutions so bears won’t be put at risk in urban settings.

“My heart just dropped because it was such an unnecessary response,” Kashevska said on Tuesday. “I was just as angry as everyone else. The MNR responded poorly and the police responded poorly and it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to get any better as we keep moving into bears’ habitat, so we need some kind of solution.”

The 90-kilo bear was shot in a backyard early Monday after being deemed a public risk by York cops. MNR officers showed up with tranquilizer equipment minutes after the animal was killed.

The petition — Newmarket Bear Shooting: Review of Police/MNR Practices regarding Wildlife Response — had garnered 1,081 signatures by Monday night. Kashevska’s goal was 1,000.

“Please support this petition to ask the government of Ontario to have police forces equipped with tranquillizers and to be properly trained for wildlife responses, as well as to ensure Ministry of Natural Resources respond in a timely manner so this unnecessary animal death does not occur again,” the petition states.

MNR spokesman Jolanta Kowalski confirmed Tuesday the ministry still had possession of the bear, but could not specify how its remains would be disposed.

“Sometimes, people will get genetic information that will help us with our bear program in general,” she said. “It would be tested and aged and that would provide help for our bear scientists.”

Kowalski maintains MNR officers arrived promptly at the scene, given the size of the area, and that staff had to pick up chemical immobilization tools at the MNR office in Aurora first.

“I know people are upset, I was also upset,” she said. “We’re always happy to speak with police forces with dealing with wildlife. If we want to have a discussion going forward, we’re happy to have that discussion.”

jenny.yuen@sunmedia.ca


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