Bears who turn up in suburban towns are often chased up trees -- for a reason, animal control officers say.
"We try to get them to leave on their own accord," said Carol Tyler, the senior officer at Bergen County-based Tyco Professional Animal Control. "But sometimes you get one that’s stubborn."
Tyler's team got a 119-pound bear down from a Paramus tree on Wednesday.
Those found in wooded areas are less of an issue, but once they hit the streets or backyards, "we decide to get them up a tree and have [state] Fish and Wildlife [officers] tranquilize them," Tyler said.
Noisemakers and barking dogs get most bears into the trees. Flares placed around a tree will keep them there -- they don’t like the smell of sulfur, Tyler said.
The next step is to determine how high up the animal is and to set up a net.
"Fifteen to 20 feet is a comfortable area," Tyler said.
Police, animal control officers and other responders hold the net around the tree while a bear biologist shoots a tranquilizer dart. The biologist may have to use a cherry picker or scissor lift to get a better shot if the bear is larger.
If done properly, the shot sedates the animal.
"The net is not going to work like a trampoline," Tyler emphasized. "When the bear hits the net, even with all our weight holding it, is still going to hit the ground."
The fall could even knock out the animal if the sedative hasn't already done the trick.
As a safety precaution, animal control officers need to keep the animal calm.
The same goes for people.Some may leave their homes or vehicles to catch a glimpse of the action. They need to be warned that any noise "could excite a bear and cause him or her to fight the drug a bit."
Once the bear is down and safely secured, his or her ears are tagged and lip tattoos added for identification. Measurements are taken before the bear is loaded into a truck.
Fish and Wildlife officers then take the animal to a state park for release into the wild, Tyler said.
The tranquilizer has likely worn off by then. Unless the bear has become acclimated to humans, he or she will jump out and bolt, Tyler said.
Diversion techniques or rubber bullets may be used to keep the fleeing bear on the move.
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