I never thought I would be running around Museum grounds after a bear that wasn’t a pretend bear that was part of an emergency training. And, if a bear was on grounds I would of assumed that a storm had come through and knocked out some of our bear fence and I would need to catch one of the Museum’s bears.
Saturday I was paged and on my beeper the emergency code showed up. I live around the corner from the Museum and was over in a minute. A minute later I was up by the farmyard looking directly at a bear: a wild bear that had made its way onto Museum property.
My guess is that it was maybe around 160 pounds and likely 2-3 years old. We had it cornered by the perimeter fence by the Farmyard while Animal Keepers prepared darts. The bear took off running through Loblolly Park (over the slide, through the large culvert pipe, and back behind the pipes and dustpans to bang on).
What a bizarre day, but what an exciting day. The keepers handled themselves brilliantly, as did the rest of the Museum staff quickly getting people inside. About an hour after spotting the bear and moving people inside, we felt it safe to re-open the outside portions of the Museum. We lost track of the bear but felt confident he was not in the area and was not interested in being around people (we did have staff stationed in all outdoor areas though just to be sure).
I learned this morning of a bear hit by a car in Hillsborough. I assume it was the same bear. It makes me sad that (s)he didn’t make it back to the woods away from people and roads.
If you have questions, please leave them in the comment section. I am happy to answer them.