A 350-pound black bear which found its way into downtown New Haven, had to be tranquilized and transported out of the city on Tuesday evening.
DEEP Environmental Conservation officers successfully tranquilized the large male bear after surrounding the animal in the area between Wallace Street and the State Street highway on-ramp to Interstate 91. New Haven Police and state police were also responding.
“Police officers are in the back of the building and there’s a roof and they can see the bear from the roof," said Mary Torres, who owns a home on Wallace Street.
Dozens of residents watched from the sidewalk as the bear decided to make a move toward a nearby park and housing complex.
DEEP said the bear had been seen in several locations and was making his way towards the highway, which meant he could've potentially been hit by a car.
“It was a very tenuous scene especially being down here close to the city atmosphere on 91 with a lot of traffic," said Sgt. Steve Stanko, with DEEP. "We had a lot of concerns about the bear going into the roadway.”
Trained DEEP officers first hit the bear with a bean bag round in order to get him to climb up into a tree, which the animal did.
“We were able to cordon off an area with enough personnel, yelling, with car lights on, keeping the bear sort of in the wood lying area which is what we needed to do,” said Stanko.
Minutes later, officers hit the bear with a tranquilizer dart. The animal fell out of the tree and onto the ground where authorities loaded the bear into an SUV to transport him to a remote and wooded area away from the city.
"Bears in an urban area like this is unusual. Sgt. David Guliuzzo of the New Haven Police. "We all know that," he said after six-plus hours of monitoring the bear's movements.
“I hope it’s a beautiful end and he goes back into his habitat where he belongs," said Torres.
DEEP officials said that the bear was said to be in good health and breathing normally during transport out of the city. The animal was to be released in an undisclosed location with hopes that he wouldn't return to downtown.