Earlier this week, residents in East Brunswick, New Jersey reported seeing a black bear wandering through their suburb, so wildlife officials were dispatched to pick him up -- but the bear proved no easy catch. For three days the animal deftly eluded capture, no small feat in the well-populated area, until he was finally spotted in a tree and darted with tranquilizer. That's about the time authorities discovered that this particular bear had a rap-sheet. In the last 18 months, he'd been captured on five separate occasions wandering through other towns in New Jersey. What keeps him coming back? Love, they say, or the lack thereof.Although the young black bear is known simply by his tag number, 6131, more recently it's been his persistence that makes him memorable. Prior to his most recent capture, the animal had turned up in five different towns and suburbs throughout New Jersey, and each time wildlife officials have dutifully returned him to the wild -- but like clockwork, he's appeared again, peacably strolling through another populated part of the state, this time in East Brunswick.
"He's a serious wanderer," says Kim Tinnes of New Jersey's Division of Fish and Wildlife.
According to authorities, the bear has likely been repeatedly drawn to suburbia in a misguided quest for a mate. Black bears are highly territorial, so chances are that the juvenile has been forced to travel far and wide to find a stomping-ground to call his own, and perhaps even a female there to share it with.
What the young animal has found instead, in each of his six lovelorn forays into populated areas, has been bewildered residents. But in his most recent venture into the usually bear-less streets of East Brunswick, the animal seemed to have learned a few tricks to avoid capture. After a few days of searching, police ultimately found him hiding up in a tree and darted him with tranquilizer. As a testament to their gentle treatment of the lonely bear, authorities even stretched out a net to break his fall.
A few hours later, the bear likely found himself in the same wilderness preserve he'd been returned to many times before.
There was once a time, perhaps, when boundries between the 'wilderness' and the suburbs were more violently guarded, when a hapless bear wandering through the suburbs would be shot outright. But on six seperate occasions, authorities have shown remarkable restraint and humanity in dealing with an animal whose only fault is not understanding such a boundry exists.
(Via New Jersey Online)
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