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Black bear spotted in DC tree, roaming around NE released in remote area of Maryland

The bear spent hours up a tree on Franklin Street in Northeast, D.C. on Friday morning.

WASHINGTON — A young black bear became the focus of a spectacle in the District early Friday after it scampered up a tree in Northeast.

Police said they had received several reports of a black bear spotted in Northeast D.C. around 7 a.m. Viewer Tasharia Outlaw posted an image on social media of a bear in the area of 14th and Kearny Streets Northeast. Twitter user Miss J Lilly also captured video of the bear running across the street near 14th and Monroe. 

Just after 7 a.m., Metropolitan Police Department officers said they were responding to a report of a bear in a tree in the 1300 block of Franklin Street Northeast. Roads were closed in the area for several hours while officials worked to get the bear down.

By 9 a.m. the bear was drawing neighbors in the area to watch the incident unfold. The neighbors named the bear Franklin since it was stuck on Franklin Street. 

Police said The Maryland Department of Natural Resources were called to the scene, along with representatives from the Smithsonian National Zoo. 

A neighbor told WUSA9 she was happy to learn the police presence in her neighborhood was because of a bear and not something worse. DC Police officers used sirens to keep the bear up in the tree to buy time for animal control officers to get to the scene.

"They bought us just enough time," said Chris Schindler with the Humane Rescue Alliance. 

The bear eventually came down from the tree on its own just before 10 a.m. Animal control officers tranquilized the bear to transport it out of the neighborhood. 

Schindler, Vice President of Field Services at Humane Rescue Alliance, explained the bear is expected to be transported to Maryland by Department of Natural Resources officials. 

Schindler said he believes the bear is the same one that was spotted in Hyattsville Thursday. Department of Natural Resources said a bear wandering from Hyattsville to D.C. is normal behavior for a juvenile male bear.

A video from the acting director of communications for HRA, Samantha Miller, shows that the bear has since been released back into a proper habitat in a remote area of Maryland.

A bear in D.C. is relatively rare. The last time a bear was spotted in the District was more than five years ago, Schindler said. 

The organization BearWise offers the following tips to keep yourself and your home safe from bears:

Never feed or approach bears:

Intentionally feeding bears or allowing them to find anything that smells or tastes like food teaches bears to approach homes and people looking for more. Bears will defend themselves if a person gets too close, so don't risk your safety and theirs.

Secure food, garbage and recycling:

Food and food odors attract bears, so don't reward them with easily available food, liquids and garbage. 

Remove bird feeders when bears are active:

Birdseed and grans have lots of calories, so they're very attractive to bears. Removing feeders is the best way to avoid creating conflicts with bears.

Never leave pet food outdoors:

Feed pets indoors if possible. If you must feed pets outside, feed in single portions and remove food and bowls after feeding. Store pet food where bears can't see or smell it.

Clean and store grills:

Clean grills after each use and make sure that all grease, fat and food particles are removed. Store clean grills and smokers in a secure area that keeps bears out.

Alert neighbors to bear activity:

See bears in the area or evidence of bear activity? Tell your neighbors and share information on how to avoid bear conflicts.

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