Residents Thrilled By Sight; Wildlife Officials Eventually Tranquilize 150-Pounder

MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Bear sightings are nothing new in some parts of New Jersey, but on Tuesday in Montclair, residents got a lot more than a glimpse.

A cub spent several hours up in that tree. For a time, it seemed he’d made a home for himself in the town, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.

The black bear poked his head out of a tree, looking more scared than the crowd surrounding him below.

“Maybe I should be a little bit more nervous, but, no, I wasn’t that nervous,” resident Megan Felber said.

The yearling weighing more than 150 pounds spent three hours in the park tree on Watchung Avenue. There were times when he looked as if he wanted to jump, but to the amazement of spectators he stayed put.

“It’s completely rare to have a bear in Montclair. It’s unbelievable. Look at all of us here,” surprised resident Kuay Mattox said.

“We just went to Yosemite in California and spent three days looking for them … And here they are in Montclair,” resident Sachi Trip added.

Little children were also in awe of the site of the cub, but as adorable as he looked, animal experts said he’d grow to more than 500 pounds.

Wildlife officials said it’s the same bear that’s been roaming around town, prompting a school to keep students indoors during recess.

So why was it in Montclair? It’s the time when male bears get kicked out by their moms and have to fend for themselves, officials said.

“I think Montclair is used to dealing with bears. I mean they see them quite frequently. You know, they are passing through, generally, but this one for whatever reason was not leaving or just got caught up,” said Kelsey Burgess of the state Division of Fish & Wildlife.

A dart gun was used to tranquilize the bear, which could be seen yawning, getting woozy and then falling out of the tree and onto a net.

The bear was to be released into a more bear-friendly environment, a state reservation in another part of the Garden State.

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