New Jersey

Elusive Bear Captured After Nearly 30-Hour Jaunt Through NJ Yards, Fence-Hopping and Long Naps

The bear was tranquilized after it climbed a flowering tree near a home

What to Know

  • Cops had been trying to corral the bear since Monday morning, when it made an appearance in some backyards in Paramus
  • It managed to duck authorities after a long nap in a tree and remained at large, lumbering through NJ yards, through early Tuesday afternoon
  • The bear was tranquilized so it could be brought safely to its natural habitat

A wandering bear with a penchant for taking long naps in trees was captured Tuesday afternoon after a nearly 30-hour jaunt through New Jersey backyards, some fence-hopping and a trip near a school. 

The bear, which appears to be a roughly 200-pound male yearling, was spotted in Ridgewood shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday, traipsing in and around homes and lumbering dangerously close to a front door before he hopped a fence -- and then headed toward the school. 

As of early afternoon, the bear had climbed a flowering tree near a home; authorities said they were "smoking" the animal in an attempt to keep it in place.

"The bear came to our backyard," said Alexa Topolski, who lives in the home. "It took a drink from our pond, our backyard pond, and then it took a nap in our back lawn, and then animal control came and they scared it up into a tree." 

Animal control was able to tranquilize the bear; it fell down from the tree and animal control officers were working to secure it and bring it to its habitat. 

"It fell asleep, landed nice and gently in the net," said Carol Tyler of animal control.

It's not 100 percent clear it's the same bear that made its initial appearance in Paramus' Sirianni Park early Monday -- some witnesses said that from a distance the animal spotted Tuesday may be smaller.

Chopper 4 was over the scene on Monday as the bear headed to the woods, not far from a church, and climbed a tree. Later, it shimmied down and ran across the street. 

Video showed people yelling, "Get out of that tree!" as the bear tromped through neighborhood backyards. 

Then it went to take a nap in a tree. Animal control decided to stand back and let the bear keep napping; they thought it was up too high and it could fall and injure itself if they tried to tranquilize it. But the bear napped for hours.

Then, late Monday night, he woke up and News 4 cameras captured him slinking down behind the tree, playing a bit of peekaboo. He ran through the yards, away from police, away from homes and neighbors -- and just as quickly as he moved in, he moved out.

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