MONROEVILLE (KDKA) — A black bear that’s been wandering around Monroeville the last few days will soon be released back into the wild after Pennsylvania Game Commission officials successful trapped it on Thursday evening.
At only about a year-and-a-half old, the bear has been enjoying the last few days amidst the woods and tree-shrouded homes and the people on Taylor Street.
“We’re concerned about people’s safety, but also the bear’s safety as well,” said Game Commission Officer Dan Puhala.
He says this bear was becoming way too comfortable in the neighborhood.
“He’s pretty cool,” said Kris Myers, of the bear. “He doesn’t bother nobody, just comes and eats.”
“It appears people are intentionally feeding this bear, which is illegal in Pennsylvania to intentionally feed black bears,” says Puhala. “That is absolutely not a good idea. This is still a wild animal, it’s a very large wild animal. Typically, they do not go after people, but any wild animal has the potential to injure somebody.”
And as the days went by, the bear was also becoming more assertive.
“I had a report of that bear possibly attempting to get in a house here. That’s a real game changer for us,” Puhala said.
Puhala says the fact that there would be a black bear in Monroeville is no surprise.
“There are bears seen in the Plum area through Penn Hills and over to this area,” he says. “It’s been an ongoing thing for the past 10 years or so.”
With each sighting in the region, Puhala says people are getting dangerously bold. Selfies with wildlife have become a thing.
“People need to make sure they keep a safe distance, a very good buffer zone, and do not feed this bear, and do not try to get close to it to take pictures,” Puhala says.
He also has some advice if you do have a surprise encounter with a bear.
“Don’t run from a bear, try not to turn your back to a bear,” Puhala says. “The safest thing to do is to just slowly back away and give it a safe distance if you happen to get to close.”
The Monroeville bear will be taken to a safe location for the night, he will be processed in the morning, and after that he will be taken to a secure, isolated and heavily-wooded location to be released.
Officials say they want to get him in a very isolated location, possibly in Indiana County or Somerset County, to try to discourage him from coming back into a populated neighborhood.
UPDATE: Puhala joined “The KDKA Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway Friday morning to discuss what is next for the bear.
He said after he is sedated, “We’re going to tag him, weigh him, make sure he’s okay and we’re going to relocate him to a more secluded area at least a couple hours away.”
Puhala also reemphasized the importance of not feeding wild animals. He said that with people feeding it the bear could lose, “its normal fear of humans and the normal distance it likes to keep from people.”
THROWBACK THURSDAY: Bear Captured Live On KDKA-TV In 2001: