Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bear still loose after near capture in Bucks

State and local officials had a close encounter Wednesday night with Bucks County's second roaming bear of the year - but it's still afoot after a failed capture attempt.

Bear still loose after near capture in Bucks

The bear in a Bensalem yard. It climbed a fence and eluded authorities at first, but then was struck by a vehicle and had to be euthanized. Authorities are now in search of a second bear that´s been spotted in Bucks. (Courtesy of Rick Voran Jr.)
The bear in a Bensalem yard. It climbed a fence and eluded authorities at first, but then was struck by a vehicle and had to be euthanized. Authorities are now in search of a second bear that's been spotted in Bucks. (Courtesy of Rick Voran Jr.)

State and local officials had a close encounter Wednesday night with Bucks County's second roaming bear of the year - but it's still afoot after a failed capture attempt.

According to Cheryl Trewella, information and education supervisor for the Pennsylvania Game Commission's southeast region, New Britain Township Police spotted the black bear around 8:30 p.m. and called a state wildlife conservation officer to the scene.

The conservation officer, Trewella said, attempted to hit the bear with a tranquilizer dart so that authorities could safely transport it back to the wilderness.

But the bear continued wandering and escaped the grasp of officials, Trewella said.

It was spotted again a few blocks away about 45 minutes later, according to Trewella, which means the dart may have missed the bear, or hit it in an ineffective spot, or been too low a dosage of tranquilizer. A number of factors determine whether each darting attempt will be successful in subduing the animal, she said.

After the second nighttime sighting, the bear again wandered into a wooded area, and officials called off the search for the night.

There have been no additional reports of the bear since then, Trewella said.

"He's not causing any problems," she added.

Pennsylvania's black bear population has nearly quadrupled since the 1970s, and black bears have reestablished themselves in upper Bucks County. Officials say this leads to more frequent sightings in suburban areas, particularly as young male bears forage for food and free land in early summer.

Anyone who sees a black bear is encouraged to stay clear of it, and call the Game Commission at 610-926-3136.

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