Bear snagged in Ridley Creek State Park
A black bear spotted in Radnor last month has been trapped and relocated to state game lands in Dauphin County, according to Justin T. Ritter, the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Wildlife Conservation Officer for Delaware County.
Ritter said in an email announcing the move that the bear, which had been living in Ridley Creek State Park for a few months, was relocated for its own safety after it knocked over a resident’s bee hives.
“The decision to trap and relocate the bear was for the safety and well-being of the bear,” said Ritter. “We were afraid that the bear would soon start traveling out of the park to find other food sources or a mate. We did not want the bear to get hit by a vehicle.”
Ritter said the bear was not a threat to the public, though it did cause two elementary schools to close down last month after it was spotted in the area. Ithan Elementary School in the Bryn Mawr section of Radnor and the Academy of Notre Dame in Villanova both initiated lockdown protocols, and the bear reportedly charged at Radnor motorcycle officer Lt. Christopher Flanagan, forcing him to abandon his bike and high-tail it for the school.
The incident also prompted a “Radnor Black Bear” Twitter account with the tagline, “Will someone please help me get back to the woods?!” At last count, the bear had 204 followers on Twitter.
Ritter said Ridley Creek State Park rangers helped pinpoint the bear’s location by monitoring reports of bear sightings throughout the park. He was lured by doughnuts, maple syrup and honey, and was safely trapped within six hours.
The bear was tranquilized, measured, sexed, tagged, and a tooth was extracted to determine his age, said Ritter. The 210-pound male is estimated to be 3 years old, but Ritter said the exact age will not be determined until the tooth is processed.
Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer William Cosenza helped with the trapping and transporting of the bear, and Wildlife Conservation Officer Scott Frederick of Dauphin County helped with processing and release of the bear into 11,000 acres of state game lands.
“The trapping, processing, and release of the bear was very quick and successful with no harm to the bear,” said Ritter.
Black bear numbers in the state have grown from about 4,000 in the 1970s to around 18,000 today, according the Pennsylvania Game Commission, allowing for an extended hunting season and increased interactions with humans.
A black bear wanders near a trap in Ridley Creek State Park. The bear was trapped and then released upstate. It was not harmed in the process.