A large black bear took a Monday morning stroll through a busy Lakewood neighborhood, lumbering through several backyards and startling residents peeking out their windows.
The first calls started pouring in around 8:45 a.m.
Vonnie Morton, who lives in the Royal Oaks apartments, opened her windows and did a double take when she saw the 250-pound male bear.
“I was shocked. I’ve never seen one in my backyard,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was seeing things.”
The bear made it to a field in the 8700 block of John Dower Road Southwest before police arrived to keep an eye on him until Fish & Wildlife officials got there.
The bear moseyed between houses and through several yards. It didn’t bother anybody or nose around in trash bins. It just seemed to be enjoying a lazy morning, far from home.
“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and he was definitely afraid of being there,” said Matt Blankenship, a wildlife conflict specialist. “It is an interesting spot for a bear to be.”
Wildlife officials brought a Karelian bear dog, which barked wildly at the bear in hopes of forcing it up a tree.
The bear wasn’t impressed.
“It just would not climb a tree,” said Lt. Chris Lawler.
Wildlife officials decided to shoot it with a tranquilizer dart. Only then did the bear move to a neighboring yard and climb a tree.
The dart, however, didn’t seem to have much effect. It sat up there for about 45 minutes before officials decided to shoot it with another tranquilizer dart.
Eventually, the bear grew woozy, started to slide down the trunk and then fell the remaining seven feet. It struck a fence and toppled head over heels before landing in a juniper bush.
The bear was in the tree for about 90 minutes before it was captured.
Wildlife officials released the bear back into the wild.
It’s unclear how it wandered into such a heavily populated area, but Blankenship said it was likely looking for food.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653