PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A 260-pound black bear was safely trapped in the Lower Hill District, just outside of downtown Pittsburgh.
The male bear was a bit lost and in the area for several weeks, but he had it made with dumpsters and a great view of the city.
The first sighting reported to the Pennsylvania Game Commission was near the zoo on Dec. 6. It was then determined the bear started dumpster diving at the Energy Innovation Center in the Lower Hill District on Dec. 7.
“We were having a problem with garbage around the dumpster, it spread out and we were investigating it and saw some shadows that looked suspiciously like a bear,” said Steve Guenther, operating engineer at the Energy Innovation Center.
Guenther spotted the big guy on the Energy Innovation Center’s surveillance footage several times in December.
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was a bear and started looking through the footage and that son of gun, it is a bear,” he said. “Definitely not something you expect to see around the city.”
The bear would leave a big mess around the dumpster and Guenther blamed the kitchen staff at first and a kitchen employee said they all started blaming each other until the big ferocious culprit was caught red-handed.
“You can see it’s just kind of looking around, kind of lost, scoping the place out and migrated down toward the dumpster where we have a lot of kitchen food,” he said.
The bear would also scurry over to the Boy Scouts of America’s parking lot next door to raid their dumpster. The bear left some evidence behind; his paw prints can still be seen all on the side of the dumpster.
Pennsylvania Game Commission Warden Douglas Bergman said it is out of the ordinary to set up a bear trap with the Steel Building in the background.
He set a trap near the Energy Innovation Center’s dumpster on Saturday, using donuts and beef to try to entice him. The city bear took his time and finally went in the trap sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
“When I came in this morning, I noticed the trap door was closed and I checked and he was in there and he was laying quietly, just hanging out, waiting for his trip to be taken somewhere safe,” said Guenther.
Game Commission sedated the bear and tagged him before they set him in a safe, wooded area in Somerset County.
Game Warden Bergman said the bear stuck around in the Lower Hill District because he found a food source. He said the last time he helped a bear close to the city was two years ago in Highland Park.