A bear stuck in a tree off of Franklin Turnpike in Ramsey was shot with two tranquilizer darts Monday afternoon before being taken out of the “highly developed area,” Ramsey Fire Chief Carl Held said Monday night.
“We got a call around 1 p.m. from the [Ramsey] police department asking to provide backup to a situation where a bear was stuck in a tree. They were waiting for the state police bear unit to come, but it took about an hour because the unit was responding to another bear situation at the time.”
Held said a group of about a dozen Ramsey firefighters, police and animal control officers held up a netting to catch the bear as he fell from the tree Monday afternoon. “Once the state police got there, they shot the bear with tranquilizers and it took about four or five minutes for him to begin to get drowsy,” Held said. He said the bear fell into the net after losing consciousness. “He wasn’t injured and he never hit the ground.”
After leaving Franklin Turnpike, the bear was relocated by state officials to a “less residential area,” he said.
Mahwah residents Jeff and Margaret Colucci, who said they witnessed the event, said, “the bear made several attempts to climb down the tree,” but wasn’t able to. “I would say about 25 to 30 residents [gathered to] witness the event,” Jeff Colucci said.
The incident occured one day after a reported bear sighting in Mahwah, township Sgt. William McNamara said Monday. On Sunday, “we had a complaint of a large bear on Ramapo Valley Road,” McNamara said. “He ran into the woods, and we’re not sure exactly where he went.”
McNamara said a group of three bears on Seminary Drive was reported to police last Thursday night. “That’s a group we’ve had in that area for several years now.”
McNamara said that although it is impossible to know for sure without tagging, “it is a very real possibility that the bear caught in Ramsey is one of the ones recently reported in Mahwah. Bears can move quickly.”
Many bears originate in the less-populated reservation and golf course areas of Mahwah, he said. “This is the time of year they wander, they’re looking for food.”
McNamara recommended residents who spot bears in the township “keep their distance and report them to us if they are too close to residential areas. We want the bears to get used to leaving when they see us. What you don’t want is a bear to be so brazen that he will eat out of the garbage bag on your porch while you're watching from the window. That’s when they can become a problem,” he said.