Bear captured after weekend stroll through St. Louis suburbs

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Mo. — A juvenile black bear was tranquilized in a Richmond Heights, Missouri, neighborhood Sunday evening after wandering several St. Louis suburbs for days.

Officials with the Missouri Department of Conservation safely captured the 150-pound bear in a tree before loading him into a crate for transport, KMOV reported.

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According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the bear did not immediately lose consciousness after being hit with a tranquilizer dart and “climbed higher into the tree before drowsily climbing down.”

Conservation officials told the newspaper that the one-and-a-half- to 2-year-old bear will be taken far out into the country, checked for vital signs and then released when he awakens. His ears will also be tagged, so conservation officials will be able to identify him, the outlet reported.

KMOV confirmed Monday that the bear had been released about two hours south of St. Louis.

The Kirkwood Police Department confirmed via Facebook that there had been a verified bear sighting in the area Saturday, followed by another sighting in nearby Brentwood at around 2:45 p.m. Sunday and a third report at around 5:15 p.m. Sunday near Hanley.

Not a joke..... The Kirkwood Police Department can confirm there is a verified Black Bear sighting in the...

Posted by Kirkwood Missouri Police Department on Saturday, May 8, 2021

Fenton, Oakland, Sunset Hills and Webster Groves also reported bear sightings throughout the weekend, the Post-Dispatch reported.

According to Missouri’s black bear management plan, there were between 540 and 840 black bears statewide in 2019, and that figure is increasing, the newspaper reported.

“Black bear sightings tend to be seasonal, with a distinct peak of activity occurring in May and June, during breeding and when natural foods are scarce and bears forage in areas where they are likely to be seen,” the plan states.

Homeowners are advised to keep their yards, trash bins and properties clean and free from debris at all times, but particularly during these months, the Post-Dispatch reported.