Black bear strolls through NJ community & climbs tree, bringing joy to residents amid pandemic

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MILLBURN, NJ (WCBS) — One New Jersey town got an unexpected visitor on Monday that brought a lot of people who have been in quarantine amid the coronavirus out of their homes.

Perched up in the tree, a black bear had everyone waiting for it to come down, which it apparently did on Monday night before promptly disappearing, WCBS reported.

As many told the news outlet, the bear was the most excitement they’ve had in months.

“The neighborhood lit up with email and texts,” said neighbor Danny Mandel.

Many families were drawn to Woodland Road, bringing out binoculars and cameras to get a closer look at what brought police to their community.

“Seeing something we don’t see every day,” said neighbor Danny Mandel.

It all started with the unusual suspect lurking around the neighborhood Monday morning, caught on camera and eventually, caught up in a tree.

“I saw the police go to my neighbor’s house and then they went to the back,” said neighbor Lee Winter. “They were pointing it looked like a spray gun I thought it was a raccoon, but it was actually a very loud horn which scared the bear, which then I saw as it ran up the tree.”

Hanging there all day, high above the homes, the bear was too high to tranquilize, so the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife said it was going to wait for the adult bear to come down, setting up a trap below.

“I’ve been in the neighborhood 12 years, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a bear,” said Winter. It’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in the quarantine.”

Milburn Township Police said bear sightings are not unheard of, and this is the time of year they typically see bear activity picking up.

“I think people are looking for any entertainment they can get regardless of what it might be,” said neighbor Marco Santarella.

It is apparently more entertaining than work from home or digital school. Just ask 10-year-old Gus Grove.

“Pretty cool,” he said. “I missed one class by accident because I was really sidetracked.”

“It’s crazy, it’s a huge spectacle,” said Brian Cariddi. “I haven’t seen this many people together in a while.”

Leave it to this event to bring people outside during a quarantine some are calling “un-BEAR-able.”

“Everything surreal, surreals the way to talk about it,” said Mandel. “We flattened the curve, now its time to be among people again – and bears.”

Officials say if the bear is eventually trapped, it will be relocated.

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