Young bear sedated after strolling through downtown and climbing a tree in Bronstein Park
MANCHESTER — A juvenile black bear created a bit of a stir among downtown residents and visitors Saturday morning when he — or she — decided to take a stroll through the streets a little before 8 a.m.
The young, smallish animal eventually made its way to more familiar territory — Bronstein Park, a rectangular shaped grassy patch of ground with trees, and proceeded to climb one of the trees.
Police arrived at the park, which is bordered by Hanover, Amherst, Union and Beech streets, to find the bear sitting on a large branch about 20 feet off the ground. They set up a perimeter to keep onlookers a safe distance away, far enough to prevent the bear from becoming more nervous than it already was.
Police contacted Fish & Game headquarters for assistance in determining the best way to handle the situation. Conservation officers, along with a biologist who works with the bear population, arrived at the scene and met with police to come up with a plan.
They decided to sedate the bear with a tranquilizer dart, and brought out a specially-designed mat that they placed around the base of the tree to break the bear’s fall when the tranquilizer took effect.
Although the first dart missed the bear, the second one did not, and it wasn’t long before the sedation took effect and the bear dropped safely onto the mat.
Conservation and police officers whisked the sedated bear into a large, tube-shaped trailer designed for such transports. A short time later, the bear was on its way to the Kilham Bear Center in the town of Lyme, where Ben Kilham and his nephew, Ethan Kilham, have been rehabilitating and releasing orphaned and abandoned black bear cubs for 30 years.
Fish & Game Lt. Adam Cheney estimated the bear is about a year and a half old and weighs about 45 pounds. He said the Kilhams will likely release the bear in about 15 days, when the sedatives are completely out of its system.