Michael A. Sawyers
CUMBERLAND — A crew from the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service successfully removed a young female bear from a tree in South Cumberland Thursday morning, eventually releasing the bruin on state-owned land in Allegany County.
“The original call came in to our wildlife response team Wednesday night about 10:30,” said Harry Spiker, referring to a bear treed on Second Street in front of Jane Frazier Village.
“Our preferred approach is to have people back off and leave the bear alone because the animal will come down on its own and leave. We were in touch with Cumberland Police Department in that regard, but that can be tough to do in a city setting.”
On Thursday morning an agency staffer drove by the location and saw that the bear remained in the large maple tree.
“We got there about 9:15 and I fired a drug dart at 9:30,” Spiker said. The dart struck the bear at the base of a front shoulder.
“Because of the nature of the tree and the positioning of the bear, we were pretty comfortable that the bear wouldn’t fall and it didn’t,” Spiker added.
The bruin, a 94-pound female, became sedated while lying on branches.
“Rande Brown climbed up the tree, tossed a rope over a branch and tied it around the bear’s foot and we lowered it to the ground,” Spiker said.
Knowing it would take 45 to 60 minutes for the drugs to wear off, the crew put the bear in a pickup truck for the trip to a new and less urban setting.
The bear received ear tags and had a microchip implanted for future identification.
“If we see her again, we’ll know who she is,” Spiker said.
Although a tooth was removed from the bear for absolute proof of its age, Spiker was certain the animal was 1.5 years old.
“We are smack dab at the peak of dispersal season, the time when year-and-a-half-old bears get kicked out by the sow and go out on their own looking for a place to live,” Spiker said. “They are like confused teenagers who no longer have someone looking out for them.”
Spiker said the assistance of Cumberland police officers Thursday morning was extremely helpful.
“They managed the crowd, moving them back 150 feet or so and that allowed us to work more easily with the bear. They closed Second Street so nobody else could drive up on the scene.”
Contact Michael A. Sawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.