Englewood bear relocated to nature preserve

May 11, 2010 2:56:50 PM PDT
Officials tranquilized a bear in Englewood and relocated him to a nature preserve.The bear traveled a long way to get from Northwest New Jersey all the way to Englewood.

Maybe after that journey he was hungry.

Wildlife officials finally caught up with him behind a bakery Tuesday afternoon.

The male black bear was carried out of his hiding spot behind the Red Ribbon Bake Shop.

The 160 pound animal, believed to be around two-years-old, has been eluding Englewood officials for days.

Wildlife officials shot the bear with a tranquilizer dart, allowing them some time to take blood and tissue samples and to tag him to study his movements once he's back home.

The bear was asleep for an hour, and by the time he woke up he was put in a bear trap and was back on his way back to a nearby wildlife preserve.

The animal is believed to be one of three bears that have been spotted wandering around Englewood for the past three days.

Surveillance video from a business on Coolidge Avenue showed one of the bears picking through a dumpster.

Residents also had reported seeing a mother bear and two cubs in Deneen Park and even on James Street, in the heart of Englewood's bustling downtown.

The fact that a bear was captured just a few miles from the George Washington Bridge, came as a surprise, both to residents and wildlife officials.

"This is the furthest east we've ever worked on a bear in New Jersey," said Kelsey Burguess of New Jersey Fish and Wildlife.

Meantime, regulators are set to discuss new rules that would authorize New Jersey's first bear hunt in five years.

The Environmental Protection Department and the Fish and Game Council have scheduled a hearing in Trenton Tuesday night.

Acting Environmental Commissioner Bob Martin approved the plan, saying research shows the black bear population is growing. Martin also says the number of serious bear incidents, including attacks on domestic and farm animals, is on the rise.

A group opposed to the hunt is suing the Fish and Game Council.

The Bear Education and Resource Group claims the council violated the Open Public Meeting Act, which requires the council to allow members of the public to attend its meetings.

(The associated press contributed to this report)