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Bear Caught in the Morning, Freed 5 Hours Later

By News and Media Relations on June 4, 2019 in University

Updated 2:15 p.m. June 4: The bear captured on campus this morning has been released back into the wild by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Officials said they released the bear “to the closest suitable habitat.”

“CDFW staff is happy for the positive outcome,” the agency said in a Facebook post at 1:20 p.m. “It’s not often that we see a wayward bear in Aggie territory!”

Updated 11 a.m. June 4: State Fish and Wildlife officials said the bear captured on campus this morning appeared to be healthy and would be released into the wild pending further evaluation.

They described the early-morning visitor as a young, male black bear. He was first spotted about 5:45 a.m. in Parking Lot 5 between the arboretum’s redwood grove and Old Davis Road. The campus Police and Fire departments set up a perimeter to ensure no people came near the animal.

The bear made his way to Solano Field, near the Environmental Horticulture building, where he climbed a tree — which, according to Josh Bush ’07, an environmental scientist with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, is what bears do when they are scared.

The way to get them to come down on their own, Bush said, is to keep people a good distance away and to have everyone stay quiet. This is the process that worked this morning.

After the bear came down, Fish and Wildlife shot him with a tranquilizer dart, but before the drug could take effect, he climbed another second tree. Once the tranquilizer set in, the bear fell to the ground. Bush said a preliminary examination did not reveal any broken bones or major injuries.

Bush said the animal, weighing between 80 and 100 pounds, would be released to the “closest available habitat” west of UC Davis, if all goes well during the evaluation.

Bush said the bear was likely “kicked out by its mother who likely just had cubs,” and would have been looking for a new habitat. Bear sightings were reported Monday in Vacaville and Dixon, he said.

“Sometimes they get lost and wind up in places that are less desirable for bears and people,” he said.


Updated 8:30 a.m. June 4: Police report the bear has been safely captured. State Fish and Wildlife officers evaluated the bear and took it away in a trailer.

Bear activity this morning (June 4) at the south edge of the main campus, along Old Davis Road near the Hyatt Place hotel, has police asking people to avoid the area if on foot. The road remains open.

UC Davis police and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife are on the scene. A WarnMe message went out about 8 a.m. advising that a bear had been spotted in the area of the Solano Apartments, and that the bear was headed west toward the UC Davis Arboretum. Wildlife officers are attempting to capture the bear safely.

Media contact(s)

Andy Fell, 530-752-4533,