Bear who spent hours atop 2 trees in Renton climbs down, wanders off
RENTON, Wash. -- The Renton bear watch is over...
A large black bear that climbed a high tree near a Renton elementary school Wednesday spent about 11 hours perched there before finally climbing down around 10:45 p.m. -- and then immediately climbed up another tree.
He stayed up there into the wee hours of Thursday morning before giving up a second time -- this time wandering off back toward the woods.
WATCH: Bear climbs up a second tree, Fish and Wildlife officials prepare to tranquilize animal:
Earlier in the day, wildlife officials had used bean bag guns along with specially-trained dogs and loud noises to try and bring it down.
But that only caused the bear to scramble higher in the tree. Officers said they would not use tranquilizer darts until the bear is on the ground or close to it.
"There's a lot of houses, there's a lot of people, there's a couple of buildings, and of course there's an elementary school nearby," said Jennifer Maurstad from the State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The bear was discovered around 11:30 a.m. about a block away from Highlands Elementary School, said Randy Matheson, spokesperson for Renton School District.
"It's garbage day and it's spring and generally a bear of this size wouldn't be found in Renton unless he has been eating garbage nearby, say in the Renton Highlands or Newcastle area," said Nadine Drisseq with Bear Smart Washington. "Usually we would expect a juvenile this time of year because the juveniles are being run off by their mother."
Tyrone Wilson went out to bring in his garbage cans Wednesday morning when he saw the bear.
"It's beautiful. It's a beautiful thing to see something like this," Wilson said. "I'm watching Mother Nature at work."
Watch: A bear spent more than 11 hours in a tree near a Renton Elementary school:
Meanwhile, Matheson said school continued as normal Wednesday afternoon, but recesses were held indoors just in case.
Video from the scene showed the bear napping for a bit, and occasionally stretching, but it would not budge from its perch.
"It's not normal to have a bear in this area -- he's obviously been lured by the scent of garbage," Drisseq said. "Bears have the best olfactory sense in the world... and they can smell food from up to about 7 miles off, so he could have come from anywhere -- probably Squak Mountain or Cougar Mountain."
Wildlife officials said the bear didn't present any immediate danger, as long as people don't try to approach it.
"We want to make sure that people understand that," said Maurstad. "This isn't a bear problem. This is a human problem."