SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A bear is okay after being removed from a tree Thursday near downtown Spartanburg.
Spartanburg Police and Animal Services responded to the tree located in front of First Presbyterian Church on East Main Street around 10:30 a.m.
The black bear drew crowds of onlookers as police blocked off the area.
Lee Raines, who works at the church, said the bear was spotted in the morning.
“Someone who was watching birds, was like, you know, I think that’s a bear. He contacted a police officer and she said, yeah, that’s a bear,” said Raines.
Others 7NEWS spoke with said it was anything but a typical Thursday.
“It seemed like the whole town was here, it’s not something that happens on a normal basis,” said Leslie Lang.
“Crowds of people all around, the police and DNR had done a good job of taping everything off. Kind of keeping people back from the bear in the tree,” said John Daniel DeBevoise.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources responded and tranquilized the three to four-year-old bear.
Firefighters provided the ladder while DNR removed the bear from the tree around 1:30 p.m.
“Sometimes, when you’re tranquilizing a bear in a tree, sometimes that can’t be avoided. That’s not always what we’re planning on, but sometimes you just don’t know. Bears are very resilient, they’re tough animals,” said Greg Lucas, with DNR.
(Video above: Tranquilized bear falls from tree.)
The bear was carried to a trailer and later released on U.S. Forest Service land.
Lucas said the black bear woke up, was woozy and stumbled away into the forest.
“They’re non-aggressive, they’re very shy and really don’t want to be around humans. So, it was probably a lot more traumatic for the bear,” he said.
Even though the bear has been moved, he left people in Downtown Spartanburg with quite the story to tell.
“It was just pretty wild to have a bear that size here in downtown Spartanburg, but I know we’re not that far from the mountains, so they’re definitely all around us. So, a crazy experience,” said DeBevoise.
“I guess First Presbyterian Church is a place where all creatures feel welcome,” said Lang.
The male bear was given a field exam by DNR and was released into the forest, far away from people.