Bear in a Tree Holds Michigan City in Suspense for Hours

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Steve Griffith prepares to fire a tranquilizer dart into a black bear in a tree outside of a home, Sunday, May 14, 2023 in Traverse City, Mich. Representatives from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, DNR Conservation Officers, Traverse City Police, Traverse City Fire and Traverse City Light and Power were able to remove the bear after several tranquilizer darts with plans to relocate it. (Jan-Michael Stump/Traverse City Record-Eagle via AP)

By Associated Press

May 16, 2023

TRAVERSE CITY—A city in northern Michigan has a new Mother’s Day memory: A 350-pound bear was in a tree for hours, watched by dozens of people, before it fell asleep and dropped onto mattresses below.

“It’s like the best block party ever,” Annette Andersen said.

The drama in Traverse City began when wildlife experts responded to a morning call about a bear in a leafy tree. They fired at least four tranquilizer darts into his butt. The bear snoozed on a thick limb before finally dropping to the ground by early afternoon Sunday.

Ashlea Walter hauled mattresses from her house to soften the fall, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

Spectators sitting on lawns or in chairs held their phones up to take pictures and video.

“They’re a tough animal,” said Steve Griffith, a state wildlife biologist. “Obviously they are in trees all the time, and they do have accidents in the wild. … They can take a pretty good fall.”

The bear was transferred on a tarp to a cylindrical bear trap after his vital signs and airway were checked.

Next stop: a long drive and release in a wooded area, “probably 50-60 miles at minimum,” Griffith said.

A tranquilized black bear falls from a tree outside of a home on Sunday, May 14, 2023 in Traverse City, Mich. Representatives from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, DNR Conservation Officers, Traverse City Police, Traverse City Fire and Traverse City Light and Power were able to remove the bear after several tranquilizer darts with plans to relocate it. (Jan-Michael Stump/Traverse City Record-Eagle via AP)

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