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Young bear captured in Morro Bay

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Posted at 7:01 PM, Jun 09, 2022

On Wednesday evening Morro Bay city officials began receiving reports of bear sightings in the area near the high school.

By Thursday morning the bear was tracked to an area near San Jacinto and Atascadero streets where it was found in a culvert next to Highway 1.

Avocado Shack owner, Michael Wolfe, says customers told him about police activity in the area.

"For the last 3 or 4 hours they've been trying to get him out, and they've got high school graduation today at Morro Bay high school just across the street," said Wolfe. "So I think they want this resolved pretty soon."

Morro Bay dispatched city staff to assist with the removal of the bear.

"Some residents saw the bear enter a storm drain system under the highway," said Dave Hacker, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisor.

They inserted plywood into the storm drains to cover the inlets and block off the bear.

"...and we did locate the bear and now we're going to try to extract him safely and return him to a good bear habitat," said Hacker.

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Young bear captured, ready for transport

Though it might be alarming to see a bear in an urban area, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says it is not that unusual given the time of year.

"So It's actually not uncommon, it seems like every year or two a bear shows up in this part of Morro Bay," said Hacker.

"It does happen when it gets dry, when there's not enough water they'll come down from the hills," said Wolfe.

Hacker says the bear’s habitat includes the Santa Lucia and La Panza mountain ranges, but it's hard to say where this bear came from.

"So, more bears in that area most certainly we have them right here in the front side of the Coast Range, so who knows where this one came from," said Hacker.

"It could've happened in the past. I know there have been bear sightings in this area on occasion, but as far as getting in a storm drain it's a new one for me," said Riddiough.

By 1:30 pm the California Department of Fish and Wildlife sedated and safely removed the bear from the area.

Morro Bay Police say the bear was young and weighed approximately 70 to 80 pounds.