So yesterday was interesting! I read a report from our local news source, Skagit Breaking, about a bear sighting in town. No one had been able to get a picture of it to share a couple of hours later, so since I was already headed in that direction to pick my daughter up from driver's ed....I grabbed my camera. The area was cordoned off by police, but from a distance, with my telephoto lens, I was able to quickly determine that he was a BIG bear...and he had chosen one of the biggest trees in the center of town, in a residential neighborhood, right next to an elementary school!
As I was leaving, I passed by an alley some distance away, and I could see a group gathered by a fish and wildlife truck. I made my way over to them...they were situated under the other trees near the one where the bear was, so he likely couldn't see us from his angle. It was obvious that the agent and other officers were doing their best to come up with a feasible way to deal safely with the bear. I was saddened to learn later last night, that he died in a fall after being tranquilized. There has been a lot of criticism over how it was handled, but it is always easy to second guess. I haven't spoken directly with anyone that was involved, but according to reports, they tried for some time to get the bear down lower in the tree (he was around 75 feet up there!) and then used a low-dose tranquilizer, in hopes that he would come further down afterwards, on his own. Instead, he fell from the tree, and because of the angle, he missed the net they had out under him. Sad. :(
My first picture has gotten a whole lot of recognition from local news, and I just want to say that I was very careful when I took it. I did NOT use a flash, remained low where the bear couldn't see me and be scared, and I was right next to a game and Wildlife agent. (I was there for maybe five minutes)
As to what happened: Please remember that it was a HUGE bear. Yes, he was cute, but if he HAD come down the tree, into the neighboring yards, people wouldn't have thought he was so cute. Keep in mind that it was literally right next to an elementary school. Did it pose an actual threat? I don't really know, I've never dealt with bears and I have no idea how they behave...but it seems somewhat like a lose-lose situation for the wildlife agents. I just wish it had had a happy ending.