Massachusetts Environmental Police responded to an aggressive, two-year-old, 225-pound black bear at Coggshall Park in Fitchburg Friday afternoon, according to the Sentinel and Enterprise. An officer shot and killed the bear after it challenged the officer.
Officials were summoned to the scene at around 3:30 pm after three men playing disc golf alerted Fitchburg police that the bear was following them and “behaving aggressively.” Mass. Environmental Police arrived shortly after Fitchburg police.
According to the Sentinel and Enterprise, Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale said he was “saddened” by the incident, but that it was a matter of public safety. “Anytime you have to take an animal’s life like that is tough,” DiNatale said. “I’ve never had this happen before and hope it never happens again.”
According to the mayor, there had been previous sightings of the bear at Coggshall. Resident Damaris Maldonado said she was chased by a bear at the park for 15 minutes this past Labor Day, the Sentinel and Enterprise reported.
Massachusetts Environmental Police urge people to “keep bears wild” by not feeding them, removing bird feeders, and securing trash and other food sources.