Authorities capture bear in Ruston, LA park

By Ben Wolf - email | bio

RUSTON, LA (KSLA) - Imagine sitting in your living room only to find a 250 pound black bear roam across your front yard.

That's what happened today in Ruston as a black bear strolled through their community all day.

Wildlife and Fisheries know he's at least two years old.

"Comparable to an 18 to 20 year old male human, looking for a girlfriend and a place to live," says Wildlife and Fisheries Biologist Walter Cotton.

They know where's he's from.

"He's an Arkansas bear," said Cotton.

They say the black bear police chased all day was just looking for a place to call home -- something very common this time of year for a bear his age.

Ruston police tell us the commotion started at the Fairfield Inn near I-20's Exit 86 at 6:30 in the morning.

"He did make the door open.  This door opened right here this morning," said front desk clerk Wesley Hammons.

"If he'd come on in a couple more feet, the other door would have opened and probably would have smelled the breakfast area.  No telling.  We had sausage and eggs and waffles -- all sorts of things in there," he added.

The bear journeyed through Ruston and eluded police all day.

Shearean London's dog Chelsea even spotted the animal in their yard which prompted London to call 9-1-1.

"And I say you caught the bear?  They said no, he's right up there in the tree now, it came from out of your backyard," she said.

KSLA News 12 arrived on scene at Roberts Park just before four o'clock.

Wildlife and Fisheries finally shot the bear with a tranquilizer, sending the animal to sleep.
They loaded him into a truck and people got a good look at what everyone had been talking about all day.

Wildlife officials say they'll now take the bear to a Wildlife Management Area.

"We try not to disclose the exact location," said Cotton.

Despite the fact the bear scared many in town, London didn't seem to mind.

"I must admit the bear was very friendly," said London.

Like many in Ruston, it was London's first bear experience and even though he was well behaved, London hopes it's her last encounter.

Wildlife and Fisheries officials report there has never been a black bear attack on a human in the state of Louisiana in modern day history.