PLACERVILLE, CA - A 300-pound black bear perched 60 feet up in an oak tree caught the attention of residents and the California Department of Fish and Game Monday. The bear was hanging out there sleeping and eating acorns since about 11 a.m.
PHOTOS: Placerville bear a little too close for comfort
Nearby residents say the animal approached the area by the food pantry because someone had left apples and bread out overnight.
"He's totally comfy. Taking a nap. Legs swinging back and forth. He's happy. He's a happy bear," said neighbor Penny Chabot, as she stood watching from a friend's yard at about 6 o'clock Monday evening.
Fish and game said the young adult bear wasn't being a threat to anyone. But because it wass near a preschool and food pantry, they were taking extra precautions and keeping people back. They also put out a bear trap with bait inside. The hope was the bear will come down from the tree after dusk and climb into the trap. Or, that the bear would come down and leave the area on its own.
Wardens set out a bear trap baited with abalone to try to lure the bear in. He or she would then be relocated to a more remote area.
Fish and game considered using a dart to tranquilize the animal but decided against it, fearing that from 60 feet up it might fall out of the tree and hurt itself.
Residents hoped for the best.
"You can't blame him, just kinda cozying up in the tree. He has a great aerial view of the city. I would trade spots with him," said neighbor Jake McKinley.
Everyone wanted the bear to find his way back to the wilderness, or at least away from almost the center of Placerville.
"Let's get him outta here, back to his home - we're all happy campers," McKinley said hopefully.
As of midnight Monday, the bear was still in his, or her, tree. However, come daybreak, the bear was gone, presumably back to the forest.