by Lenny Roberts
A 250-pound California black bear wandered into the Arbolada
Friday morning and perched 50 feet in a tree until California
Department of Fish and Game officers removed him after firing
three darts from a rifle.
The first two, Fish and Game Warden Clint Garrett said, were
blank, just to check the accuracy of the weapon. The third one
was loaded with an immobilizing tranquilizer that eventually
caused the 3- to 4-year-old animal to fall to the ground, where
he was checked for injuries and placed in the bed of a pickup
truck. The tranquilizing dart can be clearly seen in the above
photo in the animal's right side above the holstered weapon of
Senior Deputy Al Calderon.
"The first issue is public safety," Garrett said. "We
never know what the predictability of wild animals will be."
Garrett added that the bear seemed to be breathing well and there
were no signs of broken bones.
Elizabeth Hermes, who has lived at 722 El Paseo Road for 27 years,
said she first became aware of the bear at about 10:30 Friday
morning in a large oak tree at the rear of the property owned
by Ojai Valley School.
"I didn't notice it, but a gardener came in and said there
was a bear in the tree," she said. She called Ventura County
Animal Regulation officials, who dispatched Fish and Game officers
and Sheriff's deputies, along with an ambulance just in case.
After taking a blood sample, Fish and Game officers transported
the animal to an undisclosed location up Highway 33 in the nearby
Los Padres National Forest.
Wayward bears are not unusual in residential area of the Ojai
Valley. In July 2000, Sheriff's deputies received a call of a
2-year-old, 150-pound bear walking down El Plano Drive in Meiners
Oaks, and discovered the bear on the roof of a home after it
had climbed into a backyard tree at the corner of Pueblo Avenue
and El Plano Drive.
In August 1997, an aging 300-pound bear had to be killed after
it charged Sheriff's deputies following a botched attempt to
capture it. The incident took place on the other side of the
street from the safe capture on El Plano Drive.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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officers load a 250-pound bear into a pickup truck for relocation.
The 3-year-old male was captured from a tree at an Arbolada residence.