OJAI, Calif. - A curious--and possibly thirsty--bear wandered into an Ojai neighborhood late Wednesday morning to the surprise of residents.
The small brown-colored California black bear was spotted about 10:30 a.m. after it climbed up an oak tree at the home of an Ojai couple in the 100 block of North Lomita Avenue. The couple said the bear was panting and appeared to just be resting up on that tree.
The couple told NewsChannel 3 there is a day care center and an elementary school nearby and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was been contacted. However, they said the plan was to wait until the bear came down from the tree to try and trap it to relocate it.
Resident Jon Gordon saw the bear in a tree on his patio and took some pictures and video. He said about 1 p.m. it was gone, but later it was seen in a cooler area in the corner of a yard.
When wardens arrived they worked with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department to confine the bear and safely subdue it with a mild paralytic drug filled dart so it would be knocked out. They said the bear appeared to be about a year and a half old and in very good health. It was given some water and driven by truck to a release site about 3:30 p.m.
Ventura County Sheriff's Captain James Fryoff said his team was working throughout the day to make sure the bear was safe and the public was not at risk especially as the school nearby was about to be let out for the day.
The bear cub was successfully relocated back to the Los Padres National Forest.