May 9, 2013 10:10 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Black bear surprises visitors around rock in Morro Bay

Visitors at Morro Rock on Thursday morning got quite a surprise when local law enforcement officials sectioned off a large area, because of a large black bear. It took a few hours, but they managed to get the bear off the rock safely.

It took about six men to bring the 250 pound black bear down a trail near the rock before it was placed in the bed of a truck. The California State Parks Department said it was just glad no one, including the bear, was hurt.

Los Osos resident Roger Zino, who walks along Morro Rock every day, has conjured up a few theories on how the bear came to the area.

"You know it's a long swim, depending if he came from Montana de Oro, or because that's about the closes I can think of. Cambria is a heck of a walk," said Zino.

But California State Parks said it still doesn't know how or why the black bear chose to come to the large rock.

Jim Allen, the PIO of California State Parks said, "It's quite unusual. I'm not aware of a precedent, it happening in the past."

Officials said the black bear was first spotted at 6:30 am, and it wasn't until four hours later, when wardens from the California Fish and Wildlife Department were able to shoot a tranquilizer dart into the animal, to safely get it off the rock and away from the water.

"The number one goal [was] of being public safety, establish a perimeter around the zone. And the second goal of course was the welfare of the animal," said Allen.

But, it wasn't an easy feat for those agencies involved - which included Morro Bay Police, Morro Bay Fire, and the San Luis Obispo County Animal Control Veterinarian.

Allen said, "The brush and the low lying plants and fickets are very, very dense at the base of the rock and so they needed to proceed very cautiously."

Not his usual morning, but an experience Zino said he would not mind seeing again.

"Just sort of keep your eye on it, but not get too close, because they're [the bears] a little larger than I am," said Zino.

California State Parks says it took about 20 minutes for the black bear to become groggy and eventually fall asleep.

Officials said it will release the bear back into wildlife at the Los Padres National Forest.



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