The West End bear is no longer on the run. Thanks to a trap and some sticky bakery items, he was captured in a Henrico backyard.
The black bear has been popping up in backyards in Gayton Forest for the past week or so. The trap was just put out on Wednesday, and it didn't take long to lure him in.
The sound of a trapped bear banging against its enclosure is enough to remind people living in this neighborhood that this is a wild animal. After one week on the run and the destruction of numerous bird feeders, the game commission finally caught up with the bear by trapping him in Don Stoller's backyard.
"He would actually look in the trap, come out, go in, come out," says Stoller.
The bait: bird seed and various sweet treats from Ukrop's Bakery. Children could see him enjoy the snacks from their window. "It looked like a small little bear and it was stacked up with donuts," says three year old Harper Tyson. But Stoller says it was a watermelon cake that finally did him in.
"I added to the food line, and about an hour later, he was trapped," he said.
Stoller's grandchildren were a bit disappointed in the bear's look, but excited for this unexpected 4th of July surprise.
"I thought he would look like smaller than what he looks like in the cage and um, a little bit cuter," says eight-year-old Courtney Carter.
Wildlife officials say the bear is from southeast Virginia and that's where they're going to take him.
"It's a very remote area and what we're trying to do is lessen the likelihood of this bear returning into an urban setting," says Lee Walker with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Wildlife officials say the bear followed the river and multiple food sources, mostly from neighborhoods, until he decided to settle in western Henrico.
"It came apparent after a week that this bear wasn't leaving," says Walker.
But the bear won't be alone in his new home. He will have new neighbors, but they will be the four-legged furry kind.
Wildlife officials say the bear is a yearling and will be able to adapt back in the wild
The game commission credits Henrico Protection Unit for keeping track of the bear.
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