Black bear stops off at veterinary hospital

Nicole Tassinaro of North Star Veterinary Hospital in Robbinsville, New Jersey spotted a bear right outside the facility on Sunday, June 26th. The bear took a nap in a tree and didn't bother anyone. Nicole believes that, with some construction going on in the area, the bear may have been looking for a new place to rest.

June 27, 2011 8:50:55 PM PDT
Veterinarians are accustomed to seeing a wide range of animals, but not black bears.

So when a furry friend began prancing around the NorthStar Vets facility Sunday, the staff was taken aback.

"I looked over and though it was a dog at first wondering in our parking lot, and then I was like, 'it's a bear,'" Beverly Davidson said.

"For a split second, I actually thought someone was bringing a bear to the hospital, but obviously, that's not the case," Stacey Rebello said.

The black bear was, in fact, looking for a place to nap. He chose a tree as his place to get some z's.

"He kind of worked his way and up the tree, sat there for a couple of hours and we kind of watched him when he came down and went along his merry way," Rebello said.

Bear are not uncommon in New Jersey; they're actually native to the area, but one reason it seems we're seeing more of them is due to construction.

The New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife says while there has been an increase in sightings in recent years, this year, bear sightings are actually down.

Another black bear was spotted off the New Jersey Turnpike in April and there've been other sightings as well.

In December, the department held a bear hunt and killed 600 bears as part of a management policy.

For now, the department says unless the bears show aggressive behavior, there's not much for wildlife officials to do.

And when they wander in our neck of the woods, they should be respected and left alone.

"Once we were able to talk to the police department, we learned he is a protected bear and he was tagged and released here," Davidson said.

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