Small black bear captured in Arbutus

Tranquilizer gun used to quell animal that had roamed area

August 14, 2008|By Kevin Rector | Kevin Rector,Sun Reporter

A young male black bear that had been spotted for more than a week in the Arbutus-Halethorpe area of Baltimore County was captured last night after Department of Natural Resources police shot it with a tranquilizer gun as it roamed in the backyard of a house in Arbutus.

The 1 1/2 -year-old, 100-pound bear ran a short distance after being hit, then collapsed as the drug took effect in the 5200 block of Larlin Road, not far from the Beltway. The animal was not injured.

After being examined, the bear was placed in a circular bear-capture cage, doused with water and transported by DNR vehicle to the more isolated wilds of Western Maryland, where it was to be released.

The bear had made its way from St. Mary's County and through Calvert and Anne Arundel counties in the past few weeks and was spotted yesterday in the Arbutus area, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Dozens of sightings

The agency received calls from dozens of residents who reported seeing the bear, officials said.

Before the animal was captured last night, Paul Peditto, director of the department's Wildlife and Heritage Service, said he and four other DNR employees were in Arbutus yesterday to investigate the reports and look for the bear.

Peditto said they confirmed a sighting near Southwestern Boulevard and Selma Avenue.

Not a threat

The bear "isn't an animal that's creating a threat just by its mere presence," but DNR officials would use lethal force if it became an imminent threat to people, Peditto said. Dozens of bears each year travel through areas of the state that they don't commonly inhabit, but "not normally this close to Baltimore City," he said.

The bear is "probably a little over a year old and is looking for his home territory," Olivia Campbell, a department spokeswoman, said earlier yesterday.

"What happens with bears is that their mothers kick them out of their den, and they need to go find their own home range," she said.

Bears can travel up to 30 miles a day, she said.

Campbell said the bear had been traveling along river corridors and could have come across the Potomac River from Virginia.

Last week, the bear was spotted in Shady Side in Anne Arundel County "very early in the morning enjoying an apple from an apple tree in someone's front yard," Campbell said.

Sun reporter Richard Irwin contributed to this article.

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