Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Rooting for 'Our' Black Bear To Escape Again From the Woods

The 360-pound black bear that was captured in Delran last month in front of 100 people had "escaped" from the woods once before, last year, in Vineland. Both times the free spirit had to be sedated, netted, and returned to the Pinelands, a wilderness with no fences. I kinda hoped that the bear spotted in Bucks County Thursday was him. But this time it was a baby bear with wanderlust.

Rooting for 'Our' Black Bear To Escape Again From the Woods

This photo, courtesy of Moorestown police, shows a black bear in Strawbridge Lake earlier this week. A black bear has been roaming the area lately and is now believed to be treed in Delran Thursday morning.
This photo, courtesy of Moorestown police, shows a black bear in Strawbridge Lake earlier this week. A black bear has been roaming the area lately and is now believed to be treed in Delran Thursday morning.

The 360-pound black bear who was captured in Delran last month to the cheers of 100 people had "escaped" from the woods once before, a year ago, in Vineland.  Both times the free spirit had to be sedated, netted, and returned to the Pinelands, a vast wilderness with no fences. 

I kinda hoped that the bear spotted in Bucks County on Thursday was him, out again. 

But this time the bear with wanderlust was a baby bear, only about 18 months old, according to wildlife officials. 

The young bear was captured when he got stuck up in a tree near the Valley  
Square Shopping Center, in Warrington.

Wildlife authorities identified him as a bear from New Jersey who was making his very first venture into the surburbs.  They knew because he had been tagged.  He weighed 150 pounds.  

The bear had either crossed a bridge or swam across the Delaware River.  I wish I had seen that!  Officials said he had traveled at least 20 miles from his first home in a Jersey wood. 

Three weeks ago, "our bear," the one that had roamed about Burlington County for about a week, had created a sensation.  He had his own Facebook page and a Twitter account.  Residents kept calling police with reports of sightings and the media kept writing stories that were well-read.       

At one point he took a dip in Strawbridge Lake in Moorestown.  I missed that, but the photograph someone snapped was pretty cool.  I know he could be dangerous, but he's undeniably cute. And unless someone does something stupid, most times bears won't attack. 

I'm hoping that he makes another incursion into suburbia, to give us something to talk about and to watch his every move.  I was there when he was captured, asleep after being hit with a dart gun, and he was an amazing creature to see up close.  I would also like to see him again for another reason - it will show his spunk and prove he truly is free. 

Jan Hefler
About this blog

Written by Inquirer staff writer Jan Hefler, the Burlco Buzz blog covers breaking news in the the county, as well as its quirky characters, crime cases, politics, outdoor recreation and environment. Contact Jan at jhefler@phillynews.com.

Jan Hefler
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