Solon: Police search for black bear

7:02 PM, Sep 5, 2012   |    comments
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SOLON -- Police in Solon were searching for a black bear that managed to escape capture Tuesday in Bedford Heights.

The bear re-emerged Wednesday morning in the Bedford Heights area, eating apples from a tree and making an appearance outside the doors of the Bedford Heights Fire Department.

"We think it may have returned to town some time after it was chased away Tuesday, and possibly slept in a resident's backyard for a while," said Police Chief Michael Marotta.

Firefighters shooed the bear away, and across the baseball diamond behind the city complex. He wandered into a nearby cemetery, and then toward Tinkers Creek.

The search then intensified after the bear was spotted near Valley Lane and Richmond Road in Solon, wandering through several front yards.

"He's a frisky little guy, isn't he?" observed resident Larry Maistros, armed with a camera in his front yard. "Hope he gets home wherever he's headed."

Wildlife experts hope the bear, a one and a half to two-year-old male, is heading back east. "It's like a teenager heading off to college for the first time," explained Carl Casvecchia of the Garfield Nature Center of the Cleveland MetroParks system.

"The natural thing is for them to leave home and try to establish a territory of their own," is how Casavecchia described this phase of the young male black bear's life. "At about a year and a half the males travel farther away trying to establish a home. For us, it takes 20 years or so to move out, for them less than 2 years."

The bear was last seen along the railroad tracks between Cannon and Richmond. That was approximately 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The bear spent a portion of the day Tuesday cornered in a tree in Bedford Heights. Late in the afternoon the bear made a scramble for freedom and disappeared near I-271.

Experts say it's likely the bear is the same juvenile male spotted in the Streetsboro/Shalersville area earlier this summer. It's predicted the bear will continue to head east to try and get out of populated areas. 

While police were focused on finding the bear, a curious coyote made a brief cameo during the search in Solon.  The coyote stopped and stared at the assembled media along the railroad tracks where the bear was last seen and them darted off into the woods.


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