BRENTWOOD, Mo. – A bear that’s been spotted wandering around several west St. Louis County neighborhoods this weekend was finally captured.
Just one day after the Kirkwood Police Department confirmed a black bear sighting in the Sunset Hills area, members of the Brentwood Swim and Tennis Club were surprised by the bear’s sudden appearance.
Families at the swim club said they saw the bear pop out of the woods around 2:30 p.m. during tennis lessons. The bear was later spotted in Brentwood Square around 4 p.m.
Around 6 p.m., the bear was discovered up in a tree on Buck Avenue in Richmond Heights. Local animal patrol and the Missouri Department of Conservation agents coordinated efforts to safely retrieve the animal.
The bear was shot twice with a tranquilizer gun and appeared to be fighting off falling asleep in his tree perch.
The bear climbed down from the tree just before 8:20 p.m. and made its way to some nearby bushes in front of a home.
According to the Department of Conservation, between 500 and 900 black bears live in Missouri and that number is increasing each year. They are mostly found south of the Missouri River, primarily south of Interstate 44.
While black bears usually avoid encounters with people, their growing numbers mean sightings are becoming more common in areas that have not seen bears for many years.
As such, we need to be more bear aware. If you are hiking or camping and there is evidence of a bear in the area, such as tracks or scat, avoid the area. Make noises such as clapping, singing, or talking loudly to prevent surprising a bear. Travel in a group if possible and keep dogs leashed.
Remember, bears spend most of their time searching for food. Never approach or feed a bear. Properly store food while camping and throw waste away in bear-proof containers. Don’t leave pet food outside. Keep grills and smokers clean. And if you live in bear country, don’t use birdfeeders from April through November.
For more information on Missouri black bears, visit mdc.mo.gov/bearaware.
Watch our previous report from earlier Sunday afternoon:
Report bear sightings online: mdc.mo.gov/reportbears.