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Tree-climbing bear shot near Boston

By Matt Smith, CNN
updated 2:23 PM EDT, Sun June 2, 2013
A black bear in a tree closed down the Massachusetts Turnpike.
A black bear in a tree closed down the Massachusetts Turnpike.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The bear was spotted Sunday morning in Newton, Massachusetts
  • State wildlife officers shot the animal after failing to tranquilize it
  • The remains were given to a sports club for meat

(CNN) -- Massachusetts wildlife officials shot and killed an adolescent black bear that climbed a tree in a Boston suburb Sunday after attempts to tranquilize the animal failed, state officials said.

The state Environmental Police agency said it killed the 100-plus-pound animal "in the interest of public safety" and gave the remains to a local sports club "to salvage the meat for use by its members."

The animal had been spotted on a railroad track early Sunday in the Boston suburb of Newton. State police briefly closed the nearby Massachusetts Turnpike while authorities tried to remove the bear, CNN affiliate WCVB reported.

The black bear was shot and killed by Massachusetts Environmental Police.
The black bear was shot and killed by Massachusetts Environmental Police.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page early Sunday, the Newton Police Department urged people to keep away from the area: "We don't want him to get scared and fall onto the train tracks," it said.

Later, via Twitter, Newton police said the bear was killed after several unsuccessful attempts to tranquilize it.

The animal was a male, about a year old, and weighed between 100 and 125 pounds, the Environmental Police said. State wildlife officials had tagged it in February.

About 3,000 black bears are believed to live in Massachusetts. They have been "known to co-exist with people" in the suburbs, the Environmental Police said in a statement.

"The black bear population has been slowly growing and expanding its range into eastern and southeastern Massachusetts. As the bear population expands and moves eastward, more black bears will be seen in eastern Massachusetts," it said.

CNN's Jennifer Moore contributed to this report.

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