Update: Bear removed from Cortland tree has died

CORTLAND, N.Y. – A black bear that was removed from a tree in a residential neighborhood in Cortland Monday morning has died, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

According to a statement from the NYSDEC, the bear was an adult male, about 200 pounds and was previously captured in Madison and Chenango counties.

Following complaints from residents in the village of Earlville, DEC officials captured the bear and fitted it with a GPS collar to track its movements. It was released back into the wild on April 9, an official said.

This black bear climbed up a tree in a residential neighborhood in Cortland Monday morning. Photo by Greg Gallow

This black bear climbed up a tree in a residential neighborhood in Cortland Monday morning. Photo by Greg Gallow

The bear had traveled approximately 20 miles when it was last tracked on April 19 to a location near Lincklaen State Forest.


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The DEC said it “followed standard protocols for capturing bears in urban wildlife situations.” An autopsy will be conducted by veterinarians at Cornell’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center.

A Cortland resident captured this video of the bear being tranquilized:

The DEC issued the following statement Monday:

On Monday, April 25, 2016, DEC was notified about a 200lb adult male Black Bear in the City of Cortland and responded immediately to assist local law enforcement officials.  The bear had retreated approximately 30 feet up a tree in an urban area.  To protect public health and safety, DEC wildlife conservation professionals used a bucket truck provided by the City of Cortland Department of Public Works to tranquilize and capture the bear. The bear was then taken to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine for evaluation.  DEC followed standard protocols for capturing bears in these urban wildlife situations, though unfortunately, the bear was pronounced dead earlier today. Veterinarians from the Animal Health Diagnostic Center will be conducting a full necropsy.

Earlier this month after receiving multiple complaints from residents over nuisance behavior near the Village of Earlville in Madison/Chenango counties, DEC officials captured this bear. To assist with ongoing research by Cornell University, DEC fitted the bear with a GPS collar to track its movements and released it to favorable bear habitat on April 9.  The bear had travelled approximately 20 miles when it was last tracked on April 19 to a location near Lincklaen State Forest.

The DEC also released the following tips for dealing with bears in urban areas, and how the agency responds to such situations:

General Bear Information:

  • Our first course of action is to assess the situation and then try to encourage the bear out of the inappropriate setting.
  • If there is not a safe way to get the bear out of the area, DEC will try to tranquilize and relocate the bear into more suitable settings. DEC tags relocated bears so it can track the bears’ movements. DEC attempts to relocate each nuisance bear at least twice.
  • Unfortunately, relocation does not always work and a nuisance bear sometimes travels great distances, as much as 100 miles, to return to food sources in urban and suburban settings.
  • A bear that repeatedly returns to urban and suburban settings will continue to return after each relocation. In these cases, a bear becomes a threat to public safety when it looks for food in populated neighborhood trash cans, bird feeders and other sources.
  • Euthanizing a bear is always a last resort.  We never want to harm wildlife.  We exhaust all possible options first and then make a determination if the bears are a threat to public safety.
  • Placing a black bear at animal sanctuaries is very difficult as most zoos and sanctuaries have too many bears already and will not accept more.


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