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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Officials Tranquilize, Remove Bear Wandering in City

Wildlife: The 300-pound female found in an east Ventura neighborhood is returned to the forest.

May 31, 1999|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

VENTURA — A 300-pound brown bear roaming an east Ventura neighborhood this weekend was tranquilized by state game officials and returned to the wild, authorities said Sunday.

"It's not unusual to have bear sightings in the city," said Ventura Police Lt. Bill Bogner.

Elsewhere in the county, the body of a 500-pound black bear was found April 26 on California 126 near Piru.

The large female bear spotted this weekend was first seen about 10:30 Saturday night on the north side of California 126 near Blackburn Road and Saticoy Avenue, authorities said.

When officers arrived, the bear ran into a nearby orchard.

Shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday, the bear was spotted again, about a mile west of where she was first seen, Bogner said.

About 3:30 a.m., officers responding to a report of vandals found the bear roaming in Chumash Park at Henderson Road and Petit Avenue, said Sgt. Skip Young.

The sergeant said the bear had crossed through a hole in a fence to reach the south side of the highway.

The bear ran off again, this time to the backyard of a nearby home, where officers briefly cornered it while calling officials of the state Department of Fish and Game, Young said.

While Fish and Game officials readied the tranquilizer dart gun, the bear took off again, this time running to a vacant lot and scaling a large tree, where she lay on a branch about 10 feet up and began napping, Young said.

By the time the bear bolted for the vacant lot, Young said, it was approaching 7 a.m. and people were waking up and coming out with cameras.

The bear never got close to any people, but Young said that as he followed it down a street, he kept his weapon drawn.

Game officials fired a tranquilizer dart into the bear as it lay on the branch, but they were forced to climb the tree and move the sedated bear, which had become wedged between some branches, Young said. The bear soon landed on some cushioning the authorities laid out.

"Four of us tried to lift her into the truck and we had a good laugh with that, because we couldn't get her up," Young said.

It took six officers and Fish and Game officials to place the bear in the back of a pickup, Young said. Game officials tagged the bear before releasing it into the foothills north of Fillmore in Los Padres National Forest.

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