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Black Bear Wandering Petaluma Takes Refuge in Redwood Tree – CBS San Francisco

PETALUMA (KPIX) – It’s not uncommon to see wildlife in urban areas these days, but a visitor to a neighborhood in Petaluma became the talk of the town on Sunday.

At 2:30 am, Ralph Haney’s dog started barking, so he went outside and found that his fence had been torn open.

“We have a few possums nearby, an occasional skunk,” Haney said. “There was no way a small rodent did that. Something broke that fence. That took some strength. “

Sheila Katz saw what it was doing when she got home early in the morning.

“I got out of my car and looked down the driveway and saw a bear running slowly past and said, ‘Oh my god, that’s a bear!’ It’s a bear! It’s a bear! ‘”, Remembers Katz.

A neighbor snapped a photo of the bear as it rushed through backyards trying to escape a growing number of police and animal control officers. The frightened bear, looking for the only safety he could find, climbed 25 meters on a sequoia tree.

Mark Scott, Executive Director of North Bay Animal Services, was there and witnessed the event.

“He did that in about, I don’t know, about six seconds? So he’s a big boy – it was amazing to see, ”said Scott.

The animal stayed there for the rest of the day, hiding behind the foliage as best it could, when dozens of people came to enjoy the unusual sight.

“It’s alive! It’s something we don’t normally see and I think it’s just all the mystique of what a bear is, ”said Aubrey McMillon.

“It’s one thing to get a mountain lion, but you don’t usually hear anything from a bear,” says Eliza Fischer.

At some point a flock of crows started circling the tree and made a terrible noise when they discovered what was inside.

Doris Duncan, executive director of Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, said she understood the fascination of seeing something this unusual, but hoped people would understand how terrified the bear was in its predicament.

“He got stuck and everyone here scared him up the tree and he doesn’t feel safe coming down yet,” she said. “Besides, it’s daylight. He knows that he will have some problems if he starts roaming these streets. “

She said it appeared to be a very healthy male black bear that weighed maybe 500 pounds. It was too high to use a calming arrow safely, so the plan was to just wait for dark and let it come down on its own.

“So we hope to keep everyone out and when it gets dark tonight and no one is around, he’ll return home, where he belongs,” Duncan said.

Animal Control Director Scott said they would stay in the area until that happens.

“Nature will take its course anyway,” he said, “but we will be here to watch over it. We want to be able to say that he’s back home now. “

Scott said that mountain lion sightings are fairly common in the neighborhood because there are deer in a nearby park that draw predators to the area. He said that maybe that attracted the bear too.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report

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