Bear Shot At Piedmont Triad International Airport

7:24 AM, Jun 1, 2011   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- A bear that had been spotted at Piedmont Triad International Airport was shot and killed by a airport maintenance worker Tuesday morning.

Airport Director Kevin Baker said the bear was killed Tuesday morning after wandering onto a runway and getting aggressive towards workers trying to chase it away.

Baker said the bear was first spotted around midnight by the Mariott Hotel on the airport grounds.  The bear was tracked using infrared technology by fire crews.  They lost track of it as it headed away from the main roads.

Around 5:45am, the bear was spotted again on the west side on the airport near the General Aviation area.  Baker said it got inside the security fence and crossed in front of a plane.

Maintenance workers and airport authorities followed the bear to one of the smaller runways.    Baker said a maintenance worker who is trained to deal with wildlife fired a warning shot to chase the bear from the runway.

Those following the bear said it stood on its back legs and showed aggression towards the workers.  It was then shot in the chest. 

USDA spokeswoman Carol Bannerman confirmed that a biologist that deals with wildlife mitigation was called to the airport after the bear was shot.  The biologist recommended the bear be "euthanized" with a second shot.

Bannerman said this was the first report of a bear at PTI since they began the wildlife mitigation program.  She also said the FAA and aviation officials have had no reports of bears interfering with flights at any United States airport in recent history.

According to Baker, wildlife officials said there is no way to determine if this was the same bear seen on Battleground Avenue last week.  Wildlife officials told him there could be as many as 4-5 bears in the Greensboro area.

Bear Sightings Timeline

A bear was first seen on Saturday, May 21 in Country Park. Shortly after that, it was seen in the New Garden/Battleground Avenue area. Police started receiving calls after 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 22, the bear was actually spotted in a tree in Bryan Cleveland's backyard on Quail Drive. Animal Control and police responded to the home around 11:00 a.m. Sunday. They believe Cleveland's barking dog scared the bear. The bear eventually came out of the tree and took off.

Monday, May 23, there were a few sightings but the bear stayed on the move.

Tuesday, May 24, around 10:00 a.m, the now famous Greensboro black bear was spotted again on Battleground Avenue. This time, the bear planted himself up a tree off Albright Street.

The scene became such a spectacle police were dispatched to help with traffic and crowd control. The bear moved to another tree where it stayed for hours. Some people were taking pictures, others were bringing children to get a peek at the black bear up a tree.

Greensboro Police consulted with NC Wildlife who made their position on the bear issue clear -- they were not getting involved unless the bear was being aggressive.

Wednesday, May 25, there were more bear sightings and WFMY News 2 got the same response from NC Wildlife about tranquilizing the bear and relocating it. "Unless, it's being aggressive, they will not respond and do anything to the bear."

Thursday, May 26, no sightings were reported to police or WFMY News 2.

Friday, May 27, a bear was spotted in the Lake Jeanette area, near the Canterbury School. School officials were put on alert, but no other sightings were reported.

Saturday, May 28, no sightings were reported.

Sunday, May 29, a bear was spotted in east Greensboro off Highway 29 north, near Florida and Market Streets. Responding officers also saw the bear that ran off into the woods.

Again around 9:15 a.m. Sunday, a caller told WFMY News 2 he saw a bear on the train tracks off Benbow and Gillispie Streets. Police were already on the scene to investigate the latest sighting.

Monday, May 30, a bear was spotted around 12:25 a.m. near Friendly Avenue and Tremont Drive. Another sighting was reported about 30 minutes later along Pembroke Road.

Tuesday, May 31, bear shot and killed inside the security gate at Piedmont Triad International Airport.

WFMY News 2

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