Black Bear removed from tree in SLC neighborhood near downtown

Jun 5, 2024, 8:35 AM | Updated: 6:43 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A black bear perched in a tree in a Salt Lake City neighborhood was removed and relocated Wednesday, after shocking downtown residents nearby.

Police asked some of them to remain inside their homes while the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Salt Lake City Police Department, Salt Lake City Fire Department, and the Salt Lake City Parks Department removed a black bear from a tree.

The bear fell from the tree after crews tranquilized it around 10:40 a.m. Wednesday. The Salt Lake City Police Department said “Crews were working to set up a mechanism to prevent the bear from hitting the ground when it fell,” and DWR biologists will evaluate the bear’s condition.

The bear was first spotted in the tree at approximately 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“He came right through our yard this morning – in fact, our dog was going crazy this morning and we didn’t know why,” resident Josh Peterman said.

Residents gathered outside to watch while police roped off the area and prepped to bring the bear safely down. Scott Root with DWR said bears come out of hibernation about mid-March and that there could be several reasons the bear is down here in the valley.

“Kind of a surprise to get a black bear here in June as far as why this bear is here – several possible reasons it could have been kicked out of a territory by another male bear, my hunch is that these hills around us are pretty yellow and dry and sometimes bears look for water or lush vegetation,” Scott Root with DWR said. “That could be a definite reason why it’s down here.”

Anyone living on Reed Avenue between 300 West and Wall Street was asked to remain inside their homes while crews were on the scene. Many residents gathered outside of the roped-off area to watch.

“Pretty surprising to see a bear this far down out of the mountains because we’re close to the foothills but I’m guessing he’s from CityCreek,” Peterman said.

“The plan is we’ll tranquilize it and give it a health assessment and if it’s in good health we’ll relocate it,” Root said.

The bear was hit with a tranquilizer twice before it ultimately fell.

Root said the bear is estimated to be two to three years old. Root said the bear will get a health assessment and could be released within the hour.

The bear was relocated and released at approximately 3 p.m. and DWR said it appeared to be uninjured and “ran off very well upon release.”

How to handle black bear sightings

The incident wasn’t the first bear sighting in Utah in 2024, but it was the most out-of-ordinary. According to DWR, bears are not typically in the city. But it’s not unusual to see them out on Utah trails.

On Monday, a mama bear and her cubs were spotted in Brighton, and another was spotted in Logan Canyon.

According to DWR, if Utahns come across a black bear the best thing to do is to put arms out to look big, and get loud. Biologists also said not to run or attempt to climb up a tree, because they’re surprisingly fast and as downtown Salt Lake saw Wednesday, they’re also great climbers.

Contributing: Mike Anderson and Mary Culbertson, KSL TV

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Black Bear removed from tree in SLC neighborhood near downtown