Bear spends 11 hours in tree, gets down, climbs another

After nearly a day and failed rescue attempts by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department, a black bear finally came down from a tree near a Renton elementary school.

The bear stayed in one tree and then another for about 20 hours overnight Wednesday into Thursday.

See close-up photo of the bear here.

The bear climbed down the first tree after 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, but then clambered up another one. Wildlife officials left Wednesday night, thinking that the bear could come down on its own. It eventually came down at 3:20 a.m. Thursday and ran into the woods.

Crews were called around noon Wednesday to the tree, which is in a park with a tennis court about a block from Highlands Elementary School. Children were kept inside at recess and were released slightly earlier than usual.

Animal control officers tried to shoot bean bags at the bear in hopes of bringing it down and tranquilizing it. Officers use the tranquilizer only when bears are closer to the ground, so they were unable to use tranquilizer darts while it was in the tree.

Wildlife officials wanted to get the nearly 200-pound bear down from the tree and relocate it away from the neighborhood, but they were not at the scene overnight.

>> Read more trending news

The animal control officers' efforts appeared to make the bear climb higher in the tree. It fell down several limbs just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, then again tried to climb higher in the tree.

KIRO 7 News spoke to Nadine Drisseq of King County's "Bear Smart" program, who said that during the spring season, the bears are losing calories until berries become available. The bear likely came for food, but it scurried up the tree out of fear.

“There were garbage (cans) all around,” Drisseq said. “I think people have taken them in now. It’s garbage day, and he’s been lured here.”

Drisseq's Bear Smart program worked on a 2016 study that looked into residential garbage bins attracting bears.

The study claims that once a bear gets a taste of human garbage, it can become "food conditioned" and continue a habit of searching for food in garbage cans.

According to the study, the so-called "food conditioning" is dangerous for both the community and the bear, which can become more aggressive in its search for food.

Sightings of bears are reported across the eastside region from Bothell down to Auburn, especially at homes near densely wooded areas.

The statewide black bear population in Washington likely ranges between 25,000 and 30,000 animals. Bear attacks are rare, although the chances of being injured by one multiply in the backcountry.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Nation & World

Kelis says marriage with Nas had ‘a lot of physical and mental abuse’
Kelis says marriage with Nas had ‘a lot of physical and mental abuse’

Singer Kelis and Nas divorced nearly 10 years ago, but Kelis has revealed new information about her marriage to the rapper that has stunned many.  In an interview with Hollywood Unlocked posted Thursday, the singer opened up about her marriage to the rapper, alleging that there was infidelity and physical and mental abuse. The two met in 2002...
Guests use Bluetooth technology at Disney hotel to enter rooms
Guests use Bluetooth technology at Disney hotel to enter rooms

Opening your hotel room door with your cell phone? Disney has started to roll out the new technology for guests to skip the front desk and go directly to their room, speeding up the start of vacations. Disney gave WFTV anchor Jamie Holmes an exclusive look at how guests will be able to use their cellphones to get into their hotel rooms. The theme park...
Cosby conviction: Why he killed Cliff Huxtable, even before the guilty verdict
Cosby conviction: Why he killed Cliff Huxtable, even before the guilty verdict

Bill Cosby has not yet been arrested, charged, tried or convicted for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting scores of women over several decades. But there is one thing I know he’s guilty of.  He killed Cliff Huxtable.  When the talented singer-actress Jill Scott tweeted her defense — a lot of people’s defense &mdash...
Amazon announces kids-friendly version of Echo
Amazon announces kids-friendly version of Echo

The digital assistant Alexa isn’t just for adults. It’s now also for children, since the company has just announced the release of a kids’ version of the gadget.  » RELATED: Amazon is working on its first home robot, report says It’s called the Echo Dot Kids Edition, and it plays music and answers questions...
Medieval grave included coffin birth, early neurosurgery
Medieval grave included coffin birth, early neurosurgery

Researchers have made a rare discovery - a medieval woman who died while pregnant who also had  early form of neurosurgery, as well as,  a coffin birth. A young woman, who experts believe was between the ages of 25 and 35 years old, had a surgery called trepanation and they think it was done only a week before she died sometime in the seventh...
More Stories