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Bear takes a nap in a tree outside CU Boulder’s student center

<i>CU Boulder Police/KCNC</i><br/>A bear sleeping in a tree shut down parts of the University of Colorado Boulder before wildlife officers tranquilized and relocated it.
CU Boulder Police/KCNC
A bear sleeping in a tree shut down parts of the University of Colorado Boulder before wildlife officers tranquilized and relocated it.

By SHAUN BOYD

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    COLORADO (KCNC) — A bear shut down parts of the University of Colorado Boulder campus Tuesday afternoon before wildlife officers tranquilized and relocated it.

“We saw this commotion and saw this little bear in the tree and he was climbing higher,” said C-U student Kiley Beckwith, who had a front-row seat to the frenzy that played out in the middle of the day, in the middle of the summer, in the middle of campus.

The bear strolled right up to the University Memorial Center, climbed a tree near the front door, and took a nap as students and staff did a double-take in disbelief.

“This is actually my first time seeing a bear in the wild. I’m from Florida,” said Beckwith.

Her friend, Leah Selman, was also caught up in the excitement, “I’ve seen news stories of them in trees being shot with tranquilizers. It’s not that big of a shock to me but it’s really cool that I get to see it.”

Campus security first spotted the bear – an adult male – at 4 a.m. walking around campus minding its own business. District Wildlife Manager Sam Petersen says he’s among at least three bears that have been spotted on campus this summer. Another five have wandered through the Chautauqua neighborhood nearby.

Petersen says a late spring freeze in the mountains limited the normal bear fare of nuts and berries in the high country, “We also do just have some bears who are generally used to being in town and eating trash.”

But most of the bears that come into Boulder, he says, snack at night while people sleep, “Typically this time of year since it’s so hot they’re going to be more active at dawn and dusk.”

When Petersen got a call that a bear had decided to stay for the day and hangout at one of the busiest hangouts on campus, he says he had no choice but to tranquilize it for a trip back to the high country.

“Everything went really smoothly and I’m really happy with how the team worked together.”

Petersen says the bear was not tagged so this may be his first trip into town. Wildlife officers will relocate him to the mountains but, if he comes back, he will likely be put down.

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