Memorial left for bear who died in Grand Forks park
A small teddy bear, a bottle of honey, flowers and candles sit at the base of a tree in University Park in Grand Forks, the same tree a black bear climbed up Monday afternoon and stayed until it was tranquilized and then later euthanized.
The bear had come into city limits around 4:30 a.m. Monday, July 16, police said. Officers attempted to scare the bear away from town, but were not successful. By 9 a.m. it had climbed into a tall tree across the street from University Park and later walked around a neighborhood near the EERC before climbing a tree in the park, where it would stay for the next several hours.
Police evacuated the area and asked the public to stay away, but large crowds gathered to watch the bear from the edges of the park.
Police Lt. Derik Zimmel said the crowd limited police's options to remove the animal. They could shoot the bear and risk it surviving and attacking the crowd, close the park and post officers until the bear climbed down and left or to try to sedate and relocate it.
Zimmel said the third option was the safest.
"Public safety always comes first," he said. "Bear safety was definitely in mind, but it's pretty far down on the list of priorities in comparison."
Zimmel said the bear's euthanization was an unfortunate end to a long day, but said officers "tried everything we could to get the bear out of there alive."