Police capture black bear that climbed tree at NIH

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Police corralled and captured a juvenile black bear Thursday that had climbed a tree on the grounds of the National Institute of Health in Bethesda.

The rescue attempt took a few hours, giving Twitter users time to create two separate parody accounts for the bear and enabling bystanders to swarm the grounds and snap photos of the action.

A bear sighting was reported earlier in the day near Rockville Town Center. By the afternoon, the bear was spotted up a tree on the NIH campus.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources police officers shot off fireworks near the tree to scare the bear down. The ploy eventually worked and when the bear descended, officers were able to shoot it with a tranquilizer, said Candy Thomson, a Natural Resources Police spokeswoman.

The 100-pound male bear is believed to be a little more than a year old.

“At that age, they start looking for their own territory and they look for their own space,” Ms. Thomson said. “As their habitats disappear due to development the pickings get a little slimmer and they start moving into areas where they are not normally found.”

The sleeping bear was transported to an isolated spot near the Potomac River to be released.

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