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UPDATE: Bear Climbs Down From Tree Near Downtown San Anselmo Following Shelter-in-Place

SAN ANSELMO (CBS SF) -- A bear that climbed up into an oak tree near downtown San Anselmo, drawing a response from police and wildlife officials for several hours Thursday evening, has climbed down on its own and was coaxed back into the woods below Mount Tamalpais.

Officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife arrived at the backyard of a home on San Anselmo's Tamalpais Avenue at around 6:45 p.m. to deal with the animal. Officials estimated it to be a 200-pound young adult black bear.

By about 7:20 p.m., Fish and Wildlife, Marin Municipal Water District rangers, Marin Humane Society and the Ross Valley Fire Department were working with Central Marin Police authority.

Fish and Wildlife developed a plan to allow the bear to come to down from the tree on his own and then monitor his path back to open space.

Police put up crime scene tape to cordon off a nearby gathering crowd of onlookers hoping to see the bear.

KPIX spoke with San Anselmo resident Larry Haines, who owns the home where the bear was camped out.

"I was working downtown and my wife found me and says, 'There is a bear in one of our oak trees. I was like, 'A bear? As in an actual bear?' And she said, 'Yes, a B-E-A-R.' Hard to believe a bear would wander the streets of San Anselmo," Haines said. "We are a block from downtown, which is very busy. Usually a lot of people are walking through here. Very, very surprising."

For more than three hours, the bear sat in an oak tree in Haines' backyard. At one point, officers below made banging noises to keep the 200-pound animal in the tree, as the Department of Fish and Wildlife devised a plan to get him down safely.

Bear Departs San Anselmo Neighborhood
A black bear that had climbed a tree in San Anselmo departed the neighborhood after several hours. (CBS)

Officers cleared neighborhood streets to give the black bear enough space to find its way home and, at around 7:45 p.m., the bear made its way down the tree.

"The hope is he's gone back to the open space and that's where he's going to stay because he was probably more frightened about this than any of the humans were," said Margot Rohrbacher, a spokesperson with the Central Marin Police department.

The young bear was seen making his way home. Photos showed him casually walking on the street then darting through another backyard and smashing through a fence on its way toward open space.

Out of an abundance of caution, police are asking residents to please secure outdoor trash or pet food indoors or inside enclosed garages for the next 24 to 48 hours. Anyone who sees the bear again should stay at least 100 yards away from it, and call 911.

KPIX reporter Andrea Nakano tweeted photos of the bear.

Longtime San Anselmo residents said they've never seen anything like this and it's a tale they'll tell for years to come.

Police explained that the bear population is growing and sightings are becoming common in the North Bay area, particularly in Sonoma County. Sightings in Marin County are unusual, police added.

There have only been two or three bear sightings in Marin County since 2003. Spring is the time of year when juvenile male bears leave their mothers to establish their own territories.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News and KPIX correspondent Andrea Nakano contributed to this report

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