Roaming a capital offense for bear

The black bear captured and euthanized last week after a day of wandering around the Stanley Road area in Geddes had a habit of crossing into residential areas, according to the Department of Conservation.

Residents early Thursday morning reported seeing a six-foot black bear on Stanley Road in the town of Geddes.

Geddes Police Captain Vic Gillette said the first sighting occurred around 6:45 a.m. near Route 695; two more sightings were reported shortly afterward, near the Parsons Meadows residences in Fairmount.

Local schools cancelled recess and outdoor activities throughout the day.

Westhill Superintendent Stephen Boccialatt said Cherry Road School was in "lock-in" state during the day - classes and activities proceeded as normal, but no one was allowed outside the building.

Extra people were stationed outside the building during the morning bus drop-off, and parents were notified by phone of both the bear sightings and the actions taken by the school.

Bocciolatt said he thought it worked well, and parents seemed to appreciate the actions taken by the school.

"We wanted to keep things going and yet be cautious," he said.

The young male black bear was tranquilized by Rosamond Gifford Zoo employee Tom LeBarge around 8:30 p.m. Thursday, after residents reported the bear was back on Stanley Road. Apparently, it never left the area.

Geddes Police Captain Vic Gillette said the bear was apparently spooked by the small crowd of neighbors and hopped over a fence, into a wooded area behind the homes where it climbed a tree. The bear was in the tree when it was hit with a tranquilizer dart and slid to the ground.

It was transported by zoo employees to Kindred Kingdoms Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Pennellville, where it was to be observed before being released back into the wild.

Ward Stone, the pathologist who examined the bear post-mortem, said the bear had apparently eaten very well just prior to being killed.

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