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Bear takes nap in Escanaba backyard

DNR photo A bear is shown in a tree in the backyard of a home in Escanaba.

ESCANABA — A 120-pound male black bear was removed from a tree in Escanaba and released outside city limits Tuesday.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Escanaba Customer Service Center was notified of the situation at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, when it got a call from Escanaba Public Safety. The bear was sleeping in a tree at a private residence near the corner of South 11th Street and 8th Avenue South, and was about 20-25 feet off the ground.

Escanaba Public Safety and DNR corrections officers kept citizens at least a block away from the scene and blocked four nearby intersections. The homeowner was told to stay inside unless he needed to leave his home. Meanwhile, the DNR got in touch with the Escanaba Electrical Department, which said it could provide a bucket truck at the scene.

Two DNR wildlife biologists traveled to Escanaba from Marquette to attempt to sedate the bear so it could be moved. A decision was made to try to hit the bear with a tranquilizer dart from ground level. After some practice shots, the bear was hit with two darts and was sedated at about 12:30 p.m.

DNR officials at the scene had hoped the bear would fall asleep on a larger tree limb so it could be loaded into the bucket and brought down. Unfortunately, it fell out of the tree instead. However, it appeared to be uninjured after waking up from sedation.

Due to warm temperatures in the area Tuesday, the bear’s temperature was taken after it fell. Ice and water were used to cool the bear, and it was wrapped in a cool blanket.

The bear was loaded into a bear trap hooked to a DNR wildlife technician’s truck, and it was transported to a remote area in northern Delta County. When it was released at 1:30 p.m., the bear ran off with no limping or hesitation.

The DNR thanked Escanaba Public Safety and the Escanaba Electrical Department for their assistance at the scene.

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