A black bear is spending part of its summer vacation in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park.
By Wednesday, more than 30 people had reported seeing an adult black bear wandering the park. It has not been aggressive or approached people, pets or homes.
“It’s been moving quite a bit,” said Washington State Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Ted Jackson, who is trying to find the bear.
Officials estimate the bear has covered 10 miles since Sunday, when the first sighting was reported.
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Jackson said he can’t track the bear until he has a more precise location, so for now he’s interviewing people who have spotted the bear and waiting for more information.
If someone can direct him to the bear, he’ll use dogs to track it, shoot it with a non-lethal dart and move it from the area.
“It’s impossible to set a trap when it keeps on moving,” Jackson said.
No details are known about the bear, although it appears to be an adult. Grown black bears typically weigh 175 to 200 pounds.
“Every time people see bears, they get a little bit bigger than they actually are,” Jackson said.
Metro Parks officials are asking visitors not to interact with the bear if they see it and to lock up items that might attract bears, such as garbage and pet food.
Charlotte Lucey was running on a trail in the park about 6:45 p.m. Monday when she spotted what she initially thought was a large black dog on the path about 100 feet ahead.
As she was trying to decide what breed the dog was, she realized it was a bear and stopped in her tracks. She waved at another jogger on the other side of the bear.
“It looked at me and looked at him and walked off the path into the woods,” Lucey said. “I was surprised. You see a lot of wildlife down there ... but I had never even heard about there being bears.”
Although it’s not every day that a bear visits Tacoma, it happens from time to time. Fish and Wildlife enforcement officers guess that they are called to track a bear in the city every three or four years.
This one is believed to have swum across Puget Sound during low tide or moved up from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.