MONCTON, N.B. – In the interest of public safety, DNR officials say they had no other choice but to put down a bear in Moncton’s downtown Wednesday night.

Spokesperson Anne Bull says the bear wandered into the old garrison area on John Street at about 9pm.

The decision to shoot the animal touched off a storm of controversy in the community.

But Bull says the bear became cornered, and it wasn’t possible to tranquilize and relocate it, as it was surrounded by streets, buildings, and a crowd of bystanders.

As well, she says there was no one on scene who was qualified to tranquilize and move it.