Black bear relaxes in tree in Albany park

A black bear climbed a tree several blocks from the state Capitol in Albany and chilled out on some branches about 30 feet up from the ground at a popular public park on Tuesday. 

"Please be advised that a black bear was observed this morning wandering in the area of Washington Park," the Albany Police Department posted on Facebook early Tuesday morning. "Residents should use caution if walking in that area and should keep dogs on a leash."

Then a few hours later, someone spotted the bear in a towering pine tree at the edge of the park.

Police officers, firefighters, and state wildlife workers responded to Washington Park, which is in a residential neighborhood about half a mile from the statehouse. 

Authorities closed the area to vehicles and pedestrians so that workers from the state's Department of Environmental Conservation could set up safety netting and crash beds under the tree to protect the bear in a fall, police said. The crew then used a fire department ladder truck to get in close to immobilize the animal — or as the police described it, "to chemically immobilize the bear." 

Wildlife experts would medically evaluate the bear and then release it into a forest, Officer Steve Smith, a police spokesperson, posted on Twitter just before 1:40 p.m.

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A black bear rests on some tree branches in Washington Park, Albany, N.Y., on Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (Albany Police Department Photo)

"First looks of Albany Bear in its new, bucolic Catskills habitat," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos tweeted with a photo just before 6 p.m. 

Washington Park is a sprawling green space at the center of Albany, hemmed in by busy streets and surrounded by commercial strips and city neighborhoods of brownstones or single-family homes.

The DEC website has information on how to reduce encounters with bears, which often live closer to residential areas than you might think.

"Bears are more likely to seek out human food sources in the spring and the summer. During these times, natural food sources may be scarce, particularly during periods of drought," the DEC states. "The leading cause of bear complaints in New York is bears getting into residential garbage and birdfeeders."

With The Associated Press.