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Bear Leads Police On Wild Chase Through The Streets Of Anchorage, Alaska

The Anchorage Police Department captured video of a black bear roaming the city's streets.
Anchorage Police Department/Screen Shot by NPR
The Anchorage Police Department captured video of a black bear roaming the city's streets.

A gallivanting black bear took police officers on an hours-long chase around the streets of downtown Anchorage, Alaska — and its escapades were captured on video.

"What seemed like an ordinary evening on patrol ... quickly changed when an officer was alerted to something only you would find in Alaska," captions on the Anchorage Police Department video declared.

The animal was eventually apprehended by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and nobody was hurt.

But before that, police video shows the bear loping through city streets, to the strains of "I Fought the Law (and the Law Won)." The animal wove through oncoming traffic and jogged past a Pizza Hut, office buildings and homes before it ended up at a cemetery, where it was captured.

The police department posted the video last week on Facebook, where it has racked up more than a million views.

Police spokesperson Jennifer Castro said "tourists were nearby watching the bear and taking photos," according to Alaska Dispatch News.

Officials told the newspaper that the 200-pound adult male bear was tranquilized in the cemetery and that "Fish and Game ultimately released the animal at an undisclosed location out of town."

"It found itself downtown and probably was a little confused," Fish and Game spokesperson Ken Marsh told the Dispatch News. "He was doing his bear thing, and before he knew it he was in the city."

Police say such encounters are rare, even though Anchorage is "surrounded on all sides by bear habitat," according to the Department of Fish and Game. There are 250 to 350 American black bears living in the municipality of Anchorage.

This particular bear "showed no signs of aggression on its downtown foray," as the Dispatch News reported. Bear expert Bill Sherwonit recently told Alaska Public Media that "there's a general understanding that bears are less dangerous than most people perceive them to be." Most bear attacks happen when "a bear is surprised at close quarters," he said.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.
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