Update 10:15 a.m. — The elusive black bear of Lancaster city has finally been caught. 

The bear, which had climbed up a tree in the backyard of a residential property on West Chestnut Street near North Mary Street Thursday morning, was tranquilized by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. 

Shortly thereafter, the subdued bear fell out of the tree. 

Lancaster city black bear was caught; so what happens next? A Q&A with Pa. Game Commission

According to Greg Graham, game warden, the bear was OK despite falling approximately 30 feet.  

Graham said that the bear had the wind knocked out of it after the fall, but it should be "just fine."

When asked if the bear was stressed after its journey through Lancaster city, Graham answered "Absolutely." 

He guessed the bear would stay sedated after being tranquilized for anywhere between a few minutes or an hour. 

During the time that the bear was subdued, it was ear-tagged.

Graham said ear-tagging was helpful to the Game Commission because it allows the organization to keep tabs on the bear. 

After the bear was tagged, it was loaded into a bear trap. 

According to Graham, the bear will be relocated to a "much better location" in northern Pennsylvania.  


Watch live as the Pennsylvania Game Commission works to remove a black bear from a tree in Lancaster city.


Update 9:25 a.m. — Pennsylvania Game Commission officers are at scene and tranquilizers are being brought to the property. 

LancasterOnline will have more live video from the scene.


Update 8:25 a.m. — The bear has been spotted again - this time in a Lancaster city tree near West Chestnut and North Mary streets. Shortly before 7 a.m., a person recorded it scampering up the tree.

The bear had been located Wednesday night, but got away despite several attempts by the game commission to tranquilize it.

Stay with LancasterOnline for updates.


Call him the elusive black bear of Lancaster.

A black bear that ambled its way through sections of northwest Lancaster city and southern Manheim Township Wednesday was still on the run this morning, despite the Pennsylvania Game Commission's best efforts.

Late Wednesday, the bear was spotted in a tree in front of 819 Columbia Ave. in Lancaster city, where Game Commission officers and city police tried to tree and tranquilize it. A porta-tank, similar to a portable pool, from Blue Rock Fire Rescue was brought in to provide a soft landing for the bear if it fell from the tree after being tranquilized. 

But the bear had other ideas. Game commission officers fired the first tranquilizer at about 11:45, followed by several more in the next few hours. They weren't effective, according to Southeast Region State Game Warden Greg Graham, so just before 3:30 a.m., rubber buck shot was fired at the bear to bring it out of the tree. And the bear took off. It was last seen running toward Lancaster Township, according to Graham. 

Bear in Tree

Pennsylvania Game Commission officers prepare to fire a tranquilizer at a bear that was in a tree in front of a home on Columbia Avenue in Lancaster city shortly before 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Officers from Pennsylvania Game Commission were assisted by Lancaster city police and firefighters as well as firefighters from Blue Rock Fire Rescue as they worked to get a bear from a tree in front of 819 Columbia Ave. in Lancaster city late Wednesday into the early morning hours Thursday.

Other reports on social media on Wednesday night pointed to sightings on Oregon Pike.

What to do if you spot a bear in your Lancaster County neighborhood: Q&A with Pennsylvania Game Commission

Earlier Wednesday, a game warden was dispatched to the Manheim Township area after bear sightings were reported in and around Lancaster city. 

Photos and posts were being shared in Facebook groups, and Lancaster city police received several reports of sightings. 

The bear was last reported near Wegmans, off Harrisburg Pike in Manheim Township. Previous sightings were also reported near the Villa Nova restaurant, Franklin & Marshall's Baker Campus and near State Street in the city.

Charles Myer, of Manheim Township, was out walking his dog around 9 a.m. near North President Avenue when a police officer stopped to warn him of a roaming black bear. 

Myer said he wasn't too worried though, and hopes that the bear is caught without harm. 

Phyllis Leber, also of Manheim Township, said foxes and raccoons are typical in the area, and while she’s never heard of a black bear roaming around, she doesn’t have any concerns.

Franklin & Marshall softball coaches Brad Brubaker and Alex Quigley were out at the college's Baker Campus, which neighbors the woodsline of where the game wardens originally thought the bear was. 

Brubaker said he heard about the bear sighting, but it didn't deter him from continuing with his day. 

"I've played in these woods," Brubaker said of his teenage years. He added that he recalled spotting many deer and other wildlife in the woods growing up, but never a bear. 

Lancaster city police Sgt. Andrew Nauman said this is the first report of a bear in the city, to his knowledge.

Game warden Greg Graham said in a heavily populated-area, like Lancaster, "whenever we have a black bear sighting... the number one priority is going to be human safety. Number two – and a close second – is going to be the safety of that bear." 

Game Warden

Game warden Greg Graham speaks about the black bear that was spotted in Lancaster Township early Wednesday morning, August 14, 2019. The bear was last seen behind Wegmans, near the woods.

Usually, Graham said, game wardens try to tree the bear, sedate it with a dart and then transport it back to the woods. 

He added that, while it's easier to spot a stray bear in the city, it's more dangerous for the bear, with the heavy traffic around. 

The bear was last seen behind Wegmans, where there's roughly 60 acres of woods, Graham said. 

He thinks it's unlikely the bear will show again during the daylight hours on Wednesday, adding it will likely be on the move later in the night. 

If the bear is spotted again, Graham said people should call the game commission first, at 1-888-PGC-8001. Or call the police, who will call the game commission. 

"We, obviously, do not want people to approach the bear," Graham said. "Make sure (you) keep pets away from it and call those sightings in as soon as possible." 

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