A bear was shot dead Thursday in a St. Paul suburb after authorities deemed the animal an “immediate safety threat” to onlookers, state conservation officials said.

The two-year-old male weighing 110 to 120 pounds was shot by a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officer in a residential area of North St. Paul, the agency said.

“Due to the density of residences and roads in this area, it was unlikely that the bear would have been able to escape to more suitable habitat, especially during daylight hours and during the morning rush hour,” a DNR statement read.

Growing interest in the bear’s location was leading to a gathering of onlookers, the statement continued, adding that “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 kill bears in the Twin Cities area if they pose a public safety threat. The DNR does not tranquilize or relocate bears, given that they rarely remain where they are released and move to a new location and create the same safety concern for humans.

Young males are known to head to new territories in the spring in search of food at a time when berries and vegetation are scarce.

If people encounter a bear, they should first back away slowly, make enough noise to scare the animal and give it an escape route, the DNR said.

People should also clean and remove bird feeders, garbage and compost bins to reduce the chance of bears moving into developed and residential areas.