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Bear gives University of Colorado a try, lasts about four hours

April 27, 2012|By John M. Glionna

Perhaps it was hungry, or bored, or wanted to check out evening classes, or maybe it was buffalo hunting. But a 200-pound black bear wandered onto the University of Colorado campus at Boulder on Thursday, leading authorities on a brief chase before it was tranquilized.

The bear drew dozens of student onlookers from across the campus, whose sports teams are called the Buffaloes, before it dashed up into a tree for safety.

“There was a woman on campus who was putting money in her meter when she felt the bear brush by her,” Brittany Anas, a reporter who covered the story for the local newspaper, the Daily Camera, told the Los Angeles Times.

The male bear, estimated to be between 3 and 5 years old, then frolicked on the grass near a student dorm, coincidentally called Bear Creek Housing, before becoming skittish and heading for higher ground.

State wildlife officers eventually moved in. They tranquilized the bear, but not before laying down some pads on the ground beneath the tree to break the animal’s fall.

Once hit, the bear sat still for nearly 10 minutes, finally hanging by its paws for a few moments before dropping 15 feet, ending the four-hour standoff. The brief trapeze act was caught on video.

“The bear landed on its back. It was a perfect landing, all that officials could have hoped for,” said Anas, adding that bears have before wandered through downtown Boulder.

Wildlife officials say the bear was tagged and taken to a remote area of the nearby Rocky Mountains.

“I don’t think students were afraid,” Anas said. “Once it was tranquilized, they all wanted to pet it.”

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john.glionna@latimes.com

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