Black bear captured in DC after climbing trees, prancing in yards
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Black bear captured in DC after climbing trees, prancing in yards

Jan 02, 2024

A large black bear pranced through lawns, climbed up trees and ran away from animal control in Northeast Washington, D.C., and early Friday, finding itself in some beary big trouble before it was captured and whisked away to greener pastures in Maryland.

The bear was seen lounging in a tree above the 1300 block of Franklin Street, in the Brookland area and hung out for about three hours before climbing down and going on the lam.

"Oh my god, I have seen it all in D.C. This is it," said Bernadette, who lives in the neighborhood.

The bear was a juvenile male, according to the Humane Rescue Society.

One of the first Brookland bear sightings came about 6 a.m., when a driver at 14th and Monroe streets NW filmed the animal strutting across the road and into a lawn.

Yoooo I just saw a Black Bear in DC…. 14 St, NE and Monroe….Please be careful!!!!I call 911 to make them aware and they were calling pest control

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Then, it was spotted in a tall tree near a home.

D.C. police along with Animal Care and Control blocked off streets in the area. Smithsonian National Zoo workers, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources officials, also were on the scene.

Photos show the bear looking down on the kerfuffle below from a thick branch. It stood up to readjust a few times before lying down as reporters and neighbors chattered below.

Live News4 footage shows the bear begin climbing down from the tree around 9:30 a.m. Loud sirens from one of the nearby vehicles led the bear to pause briefly before it climbed back up to its perch and sat back down to observe the crowd.

The bear made another break for it around 9:45 a.m., and this time was undeterred by the sirens.

The bear scurried down the tree trunk, pausing briefly between two large branches to consider the slew of sirens and shouts from the crowd below. It then made its way back to the ground and ran off.

Just before 10 a.m., an MPD officer told the crowd that the bear was "loose," and it was unclear what direction the bear ran. The same officer told the crowd to head home for safety.

Minutes later, the bear was spotted in another tree on the other side of the block.

Authorities finally caught the bear around 10:20 a.m., using a tranquilizer to put it to sleep.

The bear could be seen inside a Humane Rescue Alliance cage around 10:30 a.m. after it was tranquilized. A large crowd of reporters, camera crews and neighborhood residents could be seen trying to catch a glimpse of the morning's celebrity.

The bear was released into a remote area in Maryland, according to the Humane Rescue Alliance.

Humane Rescue Alliance Animal Control Officers helped safely capture a juvenile male black bear this morning. The bear was spotted sleeping in a tree, and once the bear descended, our Animal Control Officers safely sedated him. The bear was transported to be released in Maryland.

Home security camera footage from one person living in the neighborhood also caught the bear casually ambling down the sidewalk by their front door.

The Elsie Whitlow Stokes Public Charter School warned families that a bear was just blocks away from the school.

"Please watch your surroundings," the school said on social media.

D.C. police along with Animal Care & Control have blocked off portions of this Brookland neighborhood on Franklin St. The two agencies are working together to safely remove a Large Black Bear from the area. @nbcwashington

Bears can be found throughout Maryland and Virginia, and the animals are regularly spotted in the suburbs.

A black bear was spotted this week in Hyattsville. Earlier this spring, one Chevy Chase homeowner nearly pet a bear that he mistook for a neighbor's dog.

But it's very rare to see a bear in the District. It's not clear where the bear in Northeast D.C. came from or what route it may have taken into the city.

In June, bears of all ages are often on the move looking for new territory, food and mates, according to BearWise.

According to BearWise, black bears rarely become aggressive. They shared advice on what to do if you encounter a bear.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has tips on keeping bears at bay.

Correction (Friday, June 9): An earlier version of this story misidentified the quadrant of D.C. where the bear sighting happened.

Correction (Friday, June 9):