A 200-pound black bear that wandered into a neighborhood near downtown Ventura this week was safely subdued and returned to the Los Padres National Forest, officials said Friday.
State game wardens cornered the bear Thursday afternoon in a backyard in the 1300 block of Brodiea Avenue and shot it with five tranquilizer darts, Lt. Chris Long of the state Department of Fish and Game said.
It took about 90 minutes to catch the bear, which scurried up several trees and then a utility pole even after it had several darts in it. After climbing yet another tree, the dazed bear finally fell to the ground.
The drug used in the dart gun incapacitates the animal's central nervous system, leaving the bear awake but unable to move.
The bear was taken about 15 miles into the forest, given antibiotics and minor medical treatment, then released.
Despite a popular misconception that it is a threatened species, the California black bear population is estimated at 25,000 to 35,000.
"The bears are increasing exponentially; they're all over the place," Long said. "In the last few years, we've had bears spotted near Thousand Oaks, Agoura, Newbury Park and spots in the Santa Monica Mountains where you never saw them in the past."