Police and animal control officials chased a black bear through Ridgewood Friday night, forced it up a tree, but ultimately lost sight of it after dark.
Walking through yards and forcing residents and small animals inside, the 300-pound bear roamed the eastside August 6. Starting after 7 p.m., Ridgewood police tracked the animal down from H0-Ho-Kus, through the Valleau Cemetery, over Glen Avenue and corralled it up a tree at 621 Shelton Ave., Ridgewood Senior Police Officer in Charge John Ward said.
The Canellas of Shelton Road were eating dinner when family members noticed something very peculiar.
"We saw a police officer in our backyard with his gun drawn," said Jesse Canella, who then told Ridgewood Patch that his sister Kimberly saw a black bear on their property around 7:30 p.m.
Not long after, more Ridgewood and Bergen County police and animal control units were on the scene, and a spotlight was shone on a tall tree at the back edge of the Canella property.
According to neighborhood residents, the police had been chasing the bear from around Glen Avenue minutes earlier, and along with other agencies, attempted to box the bear in at the Canella residence, abutting Concord Road.
The approximately 300-pound bear, at least 3-years-old (it had been tagged three years ago by animal control officers, Canella was told by the authorities), took refuge in the tall tree. Unable to tranquilize the bear from their position, animal control shot flares above near the animal, apparently in an effort to bring the bear to a position they could better control.
Instead, the startled bear climbed down the tree and ran into neighboring lawns, causing panic for many bystanders.
With a sizable crowd and news cameras present, the police shouted, "The bear is on the ground! The bear is on the ground!" and instructed all non-responders to get into their cars or homes. Police then scrambled into neighbors' yards with flashlights and their pistols in pursuit but lost the bear in the darkness.
According to the police desk, the area is now clear of bears.
During the incident, Ridgewood police instructed residents to bring food and small animals inside, and remain indoors until further notice.
The incident was the third confirmed bear sighting within a month.
Editor Sam Fran Scavuzzo contributed to this report.