Black bear seen sniffing hiker in Mexico has been castrated
TORONTO -- Federal officials in Mexico are investigating the castration of a young black bear seen sniffing the hair of a woman in an ecological park last month.
The bear has been captured by Mexico’s environmental protection agency Profepa, which plans to move the animal to another state. The agency says the bear, which weighs 96 kilograms, has become too accustomed to humans because visitors to the Chipinque Ecological Park in Nuevo Leon feed it and get too close.
The widely-shared video of the bear’s interaction with the hiker shows her stopping with two other women on a paved path when the bear approached her. It stood behind her, sniffed her hair and pawed at her. The video, which made headlines in July, shows her taking a selfie with the bear while onlookers tried to verbally shoo it away. It then ambled away without hurting anyone.
A statement from Profepa says there have been other close encounters between the bear and humans in the park and the neighbourhood surrounding it. Park officials said it was the same bear that followed a woman walking down a street, at one point wrapping its arms around her leg and poking her with its nose.
Veterinarians at the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon captured the bear, castrating it and fitting it with a tracking collar. The move to castrate the bear was approved by Profepa’s director-general for wildlife control, who argued the bear needed to be castrated to prevent it from fighting with other bears once it is released in the Sierra de Nido mountain range in Chihuahua.
The animal’s castration is now being investigated by Profepa.
Some social media users expressed concern for the bear, saying it has grown up rummaging through trash cans for food and might not survive in the wild.
An online petition says the bear is paying the price for “human recklessness.”