Bear cub tranquilized in Paramus tree; Will be released in wild

Toni Yates Image
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Bear goes up a tree in New Jersey
Toni Yates reports on a bear scare in a Paramus, NJ neighborhood.

PARAMUS, New Jersey (WABC) -- A bear cub that was up a tree in New Jersey for more than an hour was tranquilized by wildlife officials Wednesday.

Neighbors in Paramus were worried the roughly 1-year-old bear was hurt, possibly suffering a foot injury and walking with a slight limp, and crews decided to tranquilize it after it climbed higher into the tree.

People who live in the area reported seeing the bear over the past few days.

"He'd been traveling around the area for a couple days," Animal Control's Carol Tyler said. "He probably got hit by a car last Thursday in the Saddle River area. Despite our efforts to get him to head north, he keeps heading south."

And so he ended up in Paramus, where humans spotted him and called police.

"I guess he saw us and became scared, and jumped the fence and came to this side of the block," Paramus police officer Robert Sobocinski said.

And that's when he ended up in the yard, where Pete Podence was repairing a home with barely any walls.

"I turned around, and I saw him from the corner of my eye," he said. "I figured that I'd better get out of the way, so I tried to make it back to my truck."

After that, the bear headed up the tree, just where police wanted him.

"When you have a bear in a tree like this, you want to keep him there, because that's the safest location," Sobocinski said. "So you light flares to drive them up into the tree, and it keep them there until Animal Control can come on scene."

There, the 119-pounder took a perch while one wildlife expert readied the tranquilizer gun. Despite a loud thump when he fell, officials said the bear was not injured and would sleep through the beginning of a long journey to his new home.

"It was just a tissue injury," Tyler said. "He climbed that tree pretty fast, and he used that paw to hang on. He may have a little limp, but he'll get over it. Just like us having a sprained ankle."

He got a full check up, and even with his previous paw injury, the experts said he should do fine out in the woods of western New Jersey.