POLICE

Orem bear relocated after stopping traffic on State St.

Sep 18, 2019, 2:58 PM
Orem bear...
A 2-year-old male black bear in a tree near State Street in Orem. (PHOTO: Division of Wildlife Resources)
(PHOTO: Division of Wildlife Resources)

OREM, Utah — Bear with us. Traffic slowed down on State Street in Orem this morning, but not for the kinds of reasons you’d normally expect.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Orem Police say someone called around 6 a.m. to report a bear wandering the streets of the city’s downtown area.

The black bear, eventually found on State Street, turned out to be a young fellow — likely two years old.

Wildlife officials worked quickly with police to get the bear off public roads and away from people.

“We were able to get the bear up a tree and apparently they just used their sirens from their police cars, in fact, to kind of use that noise to scare the bear up a tree,” explained Utah Division of Wildlife Resources PIO, Faith Jolley.

But once the bear climbed up the tree, wildlife officials and Orem PD had a new problem: how to get the bear down without jeopardizing either his safety or that of the public.

To do that, they tranquilized the bear and removed it from the tree.

“We were able to safely get it out of the tree and are currently in the process of relocating it to a remote area of the Wasatch Mountains,” she explains.

DWR officials say Orem residents spot bears all the time — just not necessarily right downtown on State Street.

Wildlife biologists theorize he probably didn’t travel too far from home.

“Just those mountains kind of east of Orem right there,” says Jolley. “They’re assuming it was kind of up there, wandered down the foothills and then probably just kept coming into town.”

According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources website, people should steer clear of any bear that comes in close contact with people or property.

“If a bear enters your yard, give it an obvious escape route — do not corner it. Black bears can quickly inflict thousands of dollars in property damage,” the site advised.

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Orem bear relocated after stopping traffic on State St.