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.