A bear in a residential area of North St. Paul was shot and killed Thursday by a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer as authorities determined the animal posed an immediate safety threat.

The bear was a male and estimated as 2 years old and weighing about 110 to 120 pounds. The bear carcass will be processed, and the meat will be distributed to people in need of food, the DNR said.

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Due to the density of residences and roads in th3 area, it was unlikely the bear would have been able to escape to more suitable habitat, especially during daylight hours and during the morning rush hour.

Growing interest in the bear's location was leading to a gathering of onlookers. Bears can become agitated and pose a danger to humans when they become trapped or cornered as this bear had become in the neighborhood tree.

Law enforcement is authorized to dispatch bears in the metro area if they pose a public safety threat. The DNR does not tranquilize or relocate bears. Relocated bears seldom remain where they are released. They may return to where they were caught or become a problem somewhere else.

It is not unusual for people to see bears in the spring as young males search out new territories. They also are looking for food sources at a time when berries and vegetation are scarce.

If people encounter a bear, the first thing they should do is back away slowly. They need to give the bear an escape route and make noise to scare the bear away.

People should also clean-up and remove potential attractants such as bird feeders, garbage and compost bins to reduce the chances of bears moving into developed and residential areas.

Bear sightings outside of their primary northern forest range can be reported on an interactive map-based application on the Minnesota DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/bear/bear-sightings.html.