Young bear visits Fox Chase, returned to wild

A stroll through the park: A baby black bear was spot­ted roam­ing Pennypack Park on May 12 and 13. PHOTO COUR­TESY OF CHUBBY’S DELI

A baby black bear’s romp through North­east Philly ended in dream­land atop an Abing­ton Town­ship tree as a wild­life con­ser­va­tion of­ficer shot him with a tran­quil­izer and cap­tured him last Wed­nes­day. The plan is to re­lease the beast in­to the wild up­state. Res­id­ents in the Fox Chase area were placed on alert for a couple of days after pass­ers-by and a loc­al mer­chant spot­ted the bear roam­ing Pennypack Park on May 12 and 13. 

Ac­cord­ing to Chuck Tuck­er, a vo­lun­teer with the Friends of Pennypack Park, mem­bers of the group’s trees and trails com­mit­tee were fin­ish­ing up work shortly be­fore noon on May 12 when a couple ar­rived at the Pennypack En­vir­on­ment­al Cen­ter to re­port see­ing the bear nearby. Tuck­er was skep­tic­al, but went to in­vest­ig­ate and warned park users to be care­ful.

On Tues­day, the own­er of Chubby’s Fox Chase Deli, at 537 Hoffnagle St., crossed paths with the furry fu­git­ive near Pine Road and Shady Lane while mak­ing a de­liv­ery of ho­agie trays. Hafuz “Foose” Tahiraj pho­to­graphed the bear as it nav­ig­ated a fallen tree trunk. 

By last Wed­nes­day at about 7:30 p.m., the bear had wandered in­to Mont­gomery County, where an Abing­ton Town­ship fam­ily saw him in their yard, feast­ing on the con­tents of a garbage can. The couple re­portedly grabbed their four chil­dren and called 911.

Au­thor­it­ies went to the home on the 900 block of Meet­ing­house Road, sur­roun­ded the an­im­al and shot it with a tran­quil­izer. The bear climbed a tree and passed out there as game of­fi­cials waited be­low for sev­er­al hours. Fi­nally, the bear fell from the tree, al­low­ing au­thor­it­ies to safely re­move him from the yard. The bear was about 1-1/2 years old and weighed 150 pounds, ac­cord­ing to pub­lished re­ports. ••

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