April 25, 2016
DEC, police remove bear from city tree
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
A black bear growls Monday while in a tree on Crandall Street in Cortland after being shot with a tranquilizer dart by big game biologist Courtney LaMere. The bear startled residents on Crandall and Elm streets when it was first reported about 5:30 a.m. today, police said. DEC personnel used tranquilizer darts to safely remove the bear from the tree about two hours after it was first sighted.
CORTLAND — Residents of Crandall and Elm streets awoke to a hairy surprise this morning — a black bear had taken up residence in a tree.
More than 30 bystanders of all ages gathered early this morning after hearing a report that a black bear had climbed a tree in the front yard of99 Elm St.
Police received the call from an anonymous resident around 5:30 this morning, said Sgt. Patrick Sweeney. When officers responded to the call, they confirmed that there was, in fact, a black bear in a tree.
Police and firefighters and state Department of Environmental Conservation officers arrived to remove the bear.
“I have lived on Elm Street for49 years and this is the first time I’ve seen a bear in a tree,” said neighbor Dorothy Nitti.
Bear sightings have occurred in the city before. The most recent was a sighting a few years ago by the Port Watson Street bridge, but this is the first bear in a tree that police have had to respond to, according to the department.
The bear started off in a tree in the backyard of the residence and after police arrived it moved to the tree in the front yard, according to officers. The bear had originally started out lower in the tree and as the crowd of bystanders grew, it slowly climbed higher.
“This is awesome,” said Hunter Craig, 9, of Truxton. Hunter and his brother, Joe, 12, were on spring break visiting their aunt who lives on Crandall Street. “I think they’re going to shoot it (the bear) and it’ll fall out of the tree,” said Joe Craig.
Around 7:40 a.m., biologists from the DEC arrived and began to prep tranquilizer darts to safely remove the bear from the tree.
About 35 minutes later, police and fire department crews stretched a net under the tree to catch the bear as it fell. DEC biologists then fired a single tranquilizer dart at the bear, hitting it in the chest. This just prompted the animal to scramble quickly higher in the tree. After about five minutes, however, the animal could be seen nodding off to sleep. Gradually its hold gave and it slipped a few feet down the tree before it became stuck on a branch.
With the use of a bucket truck, DEC officials were able to push the bear out of the tree where it fell about 30 feet down into the net, crashing through branches on the way.
The bear, which was wearing a tracking collar, was then examined by biologists and loaded into a live culvert trap around 8:30 a.m.
DEC officials would not comment this morning on the incident.
The Regional DEC Office had not responded to questions by press time this morning.
Once the bear was removed from the area, the crowd gave a round of applause for police, fire and DEC officials.
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