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Black bear shot near Lake Minnetonka after being deemed 'public safety threat' [Star Tribune (Minneapolis) :: BC-OTD-BLACKBEAR:MS]

Authorities shot and killed a 250-pound black bear after it wandered into the heavy populated recreation area near Lord Fletcher's Old Lake Lodge in the Lake Minnetonka community of Spring Park, Minn., on Saturday afternoon.

Around 12:35 p.m., several 911 callers reported spotting the bear near Shadywood Road and Sunset Drive, close to Wayzata's Coffee Bridge. It later entered the volleyball court at Lord Fletcher's, where patrons of the popular eatery were grilling nearby, according to Orono police.

Tranquilizers were not available to subdue the bear.

"The DNR deemed it a public safety threat," said Jon Collins, spokesman for the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, whose Water Patrol division responded to the scene, along with Orono police and the state Department of Natural Resources.

Jill Tokarczyk, of Minnetrista, stopped her car to snap a picture of the bear climbing over a guardrail after it dug in the garbage at a nearby fishing pier. "I'm just sad they had to shoot it," she said.

The unusual sighting marked another in a string of recent black bear appearances throughout the Twin Cities area and farther south. In May, the DNR launched a new online map that lets Minnesotans report bear sightings outside of the animals' traditional range across the forests of northern and northeastern Minnesota. By Saturday afternoon, the bear that was shot was already part of that record.

Since the map went live this spring, many sightings have been pinned around urban centers, including more than 40 in Anoka County.

Minnesota is home to an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 bears.

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