Juvenile bear tranquilized after roaming St. Louis suburbs

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Mo. (AP) — A juvenile black bear has been tranquilized and will be taken out into the country after spending days roaming the suburbs of St. Louis.

Officials with the Missouri Department of Conservation captured the bear Sunday evening in the St. Louis County town of Richmond Heights, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Bear sightings had been reported throughout the weekend in several St. Louis-area communities, including Webster Groves, Fenton, Sunset Hills and Brentwood.

The 150-pound (68-kilogram) animal is believed to be 18 months to 2 years old. Conservation officials will tag his ears so he can be identified if spotted again.

A groggy bear immobilized with a tranquilizer lies a tree in the front yard of a home in Richmond Heights, Mo., Sunday, May 9, 2021. Area fire departments and police assisted the Missouri Department of Conservation, who tranquilized the bear, to help get the bear out of the tree. David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

On Saturday, 12-year-old Drew Boeker was with his family driving to his baseball team's season-opener when he called out, "Dad! that was a bear!" Tim Boeker pulled over and the family watched the bear run along a fence line, then into residential yards. Several other cars eventually pulled over to watch, too.

The Kirkwood Police Department made its own bear-aware post, and it placed extra emphasis on one instruction:

"NO SELFIES," the Facebook post read.

According to Missouri's black bear management plan, there are an estimated 540 to 840 black bears in the state as of 2019. The bear population is growing.

Bears are most active in the southern part of the state. The report notes that black bear sightings "tend to be seasonal, with a distinct peak of activity occurring in May and June, during breeding and when natural foods are scarce and bears forage in areas where they are likely to be seen."