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Black bear shot and killed after climbing tree in neighborhood

A North Carolina wildlife officer said the bear would have left on his own if neighbors had not gathered to watch him.
Credit: WECT
This black bear was shot and killed after it climbed a backyard tree in Washington, North Carolina Saturday, June 27,2020

A North Carolina neighborhood is disappointed after a black bear was shot and killed Saturday.

Residents say the black bear started hanging out in William Opharrow’s backyard.

A small crowd came to take a look, but they kept their distance from the 400 pound animal.

But the bear got spooked and ran up a tree and stayed there, according to WECT.

Hours later, while the bear was still in the tree, someone returned and shot the bear, killing it.

Wildlife workers said if residents had left, the bear he would have left on his own.

"Once everything got quiet and calmed down, the bear would have came down, left the city limits and probably would never have been seen again," said North Carolina Wildlife Officer Ryan Biggerstaff.

Residents said if wildlife officials had stayed at the scene and kept the crowd away, the bear would still be alive.

But they say they wished people had handled the situation better.

"Something we never, never see that often,” said Opharrow. “But something we should have been able to handle a lot better."

The wildlife official said leaving the bear alone would allow the public and the wildlife stay safe.

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