By Nicole Brewer, David Madden, Jenn Bernstein
MOORESTOWN, NJ (CBS) – They may call it the “Home of the Bears,” but a 350-pound black bear was out of his element in Delran, New Jersey on Thursday morning.
The bear was located in an area where there have been several sightings over the past week and was removed from a tree after a nearly four hour standoff with emergency personnel.
Police say they received a call at about 5:47 a.m. that the bear had been spotted in a complex near Tenby Chase Drive and Suburban Blvd.
PHOTOS: From The Scene
The bear climbed a tree in a condo complex and police had the animal surrounded. Two tranquilizers had been used to help remove it from the tree. The bear kept police and onlookers at bay for nearly four hours.
“I was driving him to school and said ‘You know what? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.’ He’s gonna go to school late, and we’re gonna take a look at the bear this morning,” said Tammy Hollock.
“I’ve seen a lot of deer, turkey, foxes in my yard. This is the first time I’ve seen a bear,” agreed Al Carp, who was also among those at the chaotic scene behind the Beneficial Bank on Route 130.
The bear finally fell to the ground below landing in a safety net at about 9:30 a.m.
“You want it to be a controlled fall situation, so I put in the first dart around 9 a.m. He felt the effects… started to go under,” explained Kim Tinnes, a NJ Fish and Wildlife technician.
The 350 pound animal, believed to be about three years old, was placed in a cage to be taken to the Brendan Bryne State Forest in Shamong for a safe release back into the wild.
Prior to being spotted in Delran Thursday morning, the last sighting was Wednesday morning in Pennsauken. According to officials there, the bear was seen in the area of Cottage and Browning Avenues, adjacent to Pennsauken Creek.
The Maple Shade Police Department says an officer also spotted the bear on Wilson Road just after midnight Tuesday — it immediately retreated into the woods along the Pennsauken Creek on the Moorestown border.
Earlier in the day, the black bear had been seen near Strawbridge Lake between Nixon Drive and Haines Street taking a dip in the lake.
On Monday, the bear was spotted at about 11:30 a.m. near Route 38 and Church Street in Mt. Laurel.
The public had been urged to use caution if they find themselves in the bear’s company.
So, could this be the last this area sees of the bear? Authorities say it’s questionable. A tag indicates he’s the same bear that wandered from North Jersey to Vineland last year.
“If they hit that wanderlust, you can’t stop them,” said Tinnes.