Town hall employees in Union had a special visitor as they arrived to work this morning: an 18-month-old, 187-pound male black bear had climbed a tree behind the building and settled in.
The bear was previously spotted by a resident on Chestnut Street yesterday, but when police arrived, the bear had disappeared. (Though initial reports stated the bear was sighted near Connecticut Farms Church Nursery School, police told Patch yesterday that the bear was actually in a resident's yard and not near the school.)
But today the bear came out of hiding once again, spotted by employees around 8:30 a.m. Police kept an eye on the bear while waiting for a bear rescue team, according to Union Township Media Technician Natalie DaSilva.
"There are only two teams in the state in the Division of Fish and Wildlife that do this, so they had to wait for quite a while," DaSilva told Patch.
DaSilva said that as the bear began to make his way out of the tree, the team had arrived and the bear was tranquilized and loaded into a truck. He will be released away from the suburbs on state land, according to DaSilva. The team had also set up nets underneath the tree in case the bear did fall.
DaSilva says bear sightings are not very common in Union, though she did remember there was one other sighting last year. A bear was sighted , but authorities said it did not pose an "immediate threat" to anyone.
Mayor Joseph Florio and Police Director Dan Zieser told the Star-Ledger that this outcome was preferable to a June 2011 incident that resulted in the shooting death of a 125-pound bear that had wandered near Lincoln Technical School in Union.
For information on becoming “Bear Aware,” visit the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s website at www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/bearinfo.htm. This website offers methods and suggestions on the topics of living within black bear areas, and how to react when encountering a bear.