Bear stuck in Petaluma neighborhood tree climbs down safely, heads out of town

PETALUMA, Calif. (KGO) -- A bear trapped in a Petaluma tree for hours on Sunday has climbed down and returned to its habitat, according to North Bay Animal Services.

The bear had climbed the tree around 2 a.m. Sunday. Neighbors living off I street found the bear and called authorities.

"We thought it was a person and we went out to the backyard and our dog was barking," said Tom Limbert, a neighbor who found the bear up the tree. "An Animal Control guy came by and said its an animal take your dog inside."

Animal Control believes the large 400 pound bear came to this area due to changes in the climate.

"He traveled longer than he normally would have because of the drought," said Mark Scott, with North Bay Animal Services. "We have been doing this for many years and we don't normally see this so something must have changed it."

The bear climbed high up the tree. Authorities say they could not tranquilize the bear out of fear it would fall and potentially die. Their plan was to wait till it got dark and lure it down with food so it can safely retreat.

VIDEO: Bear climbs tree in Petaluma neighborhood; authorities waiting for animal to retreat
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A tense situation is still unfolding in the North Bay where a large black bear remains up a tree in the middle of a Petaluma neighborhood.

"We used some fish to get him down," Scott said. "He is heading west out of the city back to the place we think he originated from."

Last May, a large bear was up in a tree for hours in San Anselmo, before coming down on its own, retreating to open space.

Experts say bear sightings in the North Bay are rare but the drought may be one reason this big bear wound up here.

"I definitely think he's traveled more than he normally would have had to because of the drought, we've been doing this for years, we don't normally see this," Scott added.

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