Bear Sighting in New Jersey Prompts School Lock-in

A bear cub is on its way back to the woods after it spent the day wandering around a New Jersey community, prompting one school to lock in its students as the bruin loitered in a tree a block away. 

The 107-pound, 18-month-old cub was first reported roaming around Montclair at about 12:30 p.m., first on Church Street, then near the intersection of Plymouth Street and South Fullerton Avenue.

Joann Smalls, a local homeowner, said she saw the bear follow a woman walking her dogs.

"The bear chased her, she went inside and the bear ran down Park Street," she said. "We saw it, and we thought, 'that's not a dog.'" 

Students at Hillside Elementary School were kept inside as the bear hung around a block away.

"They wanted to keep the children in school because we weren't sure if the bear would react when we tranquilized him and put children in harm's way," said Niki Dawson of the Montclair Animal Shelter. 

Wildlife experts responded and shot the bear with a tranquilizer dart, landing it in a backyard at the corner of Plymouth and Trinity. 

Officers believe the cub wandered out of the South Mountain Reservation. It was on its way back to the woods in northwest New Jersey by Thursday evening. 

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