CLAIRTON (KDKA) – Pennsylvania Game Commission officials were called to rescue a bear that found its way onto a barge in Clairton Wednesday morning.
The heavily-sedated, 400-pound black bear was sleeping off an adventure he’d just as soon forget Wednesday afternoon.
It’s a journey that landed him trapped in a coal barge in the shadow of the USX Clairton Works along the Monongahela River early in the morning.
Discovered by some barge workers, the bear apparently tripped while walking along the ledge and couldn’t get out. That’s when the Pennsylvania Game Commission Officer Gary Fujak was summoned to the scene.
“They moved the barge to a location where we could work on the bear, tranquilize it, and get it out of there,” said Fujak.
After shooting it with the tranquilizer gun, Fujak and fellow officers fastened his paws, and then used a hoist to pull the bear out of the barge and into a bear trap.
Fujak affixed an ear tag on the bear, which had actually been tagged before. Now 4-years-old and weighing more than 400 pounds, it weigh only 100 pounds when it was tagged as a 1-year-old.
“So, he’s gained 300 pounds in the last three years. So, that’s a nice healthy, happy bear,” said Fujak.
The bear would be happier later when the Game Commission released it into the woods of Fayette County, but Fujak warns we could be seeing more of its kind.
Young bears are looking for a home after being shooed away from their parents and older bear like this one are out looking for a mate. More and more appear to be wandering into our suburban, even urban towns.
Fujak: “We have sprawl going on and development in previous wooden areas, and with the bear population growing, they’re going to meet.”
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “We’ll be seeing them?”
Fujak: “We’ll be seeing the Clairton bear again, but hopefully, it’s the football team and not the ones with four paws and black hair.”
This is not believed to be the same bear that was spotted in Mount Lebanon earlier this week.