DEC: Bear in Cortland died of respiratory failure

CORTLAND, N.Y. — A 200-pound black bear that climbed a tree on Elm Street in Cortland Monday died of respiratory failure shortly after being tranquilized, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

[do_widget id= text-6 ]

In a statement Friday, a DEC official said that the tranquilizer dart administered to the bear punctured "a vein or artery instead of the intended intramuscular dose," and the bear died from respiratory failure.

"Even though DEC staff are trained to follow standard operating procedures in the use and administration of tranquiller darts, drugs, and equipment, these challenging operations always carry the potential for risk of injury or mortality with the animals," the DEC said in a statement.

The black bear climbed a tree at the intersection of Elm and Crandall streets at around 7 a.m. Monday. Officers from the City of Cortland Police Department responded to the scene before the arrival of crews from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The bear attracted dozens of onlookers. A video captured by a Cortland resident showed the bear hitting several branches on its way down, leaving some wondering whether DEC officials handled the situation appropriately.

"DEC does not enter into the decision to move these animals without a great deal of consideration for the health and safety of the public and the animal," the agency said in a statement.

The bear had previously been captured in Madison and Chenango counties following nuisance complaints from residents in the village of Earlville. The bear was captured and fitted with a GPS collar to track its movements before being released back into the wild on April 9.

Ten days later, the bear had traveled about 20 miles to a location near Lincklaen State Forest before making its way to a residential neighborhood in the city of Cortland.

[do_widget id= text-7 ]