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Bear plunges from tree in dramatic relocation operation in Michigan

A tranquilized black bear falls from a tree outside of a home on Sunday, May 14, 2023 in Traverse City,  (AP)
A tranquilized black bear falls from a tree outside of a home on Sunday, May 14, 2023 in Traverse City, (AP)

A sleepy bear plunged to the ground after clambering 30ft up a tree in a Michigan town - but thankfully mattresses were in place to soften the fall.

The 160kg black bear was relocated in a dramatic operation which captivated residents of Traverse City on Sunday.

The drama started when wildlife experts responded to a morning call about a bear in a leafy tree and fired at least four tranquilizer darts into its behind.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Steve Griffith prepares to fire a tranquilizer dart into the black bear (AP)
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Steve Griffith prepares to fire a tranquilizer dart into the black bear (AP)

The bear snoozed on a thick limb before finally dropping to the ground by early afternoon.

Spectators sitting on lawns or in chairs held their phones up to take pictures and video.

“They’re a tough animal,” said Steve Griffith, a state wildlife biologist. “Obviously they are in trees all the time, and they do have accidents in the wild. ... They can take a pretty good fall.”

The bear was transferred to a cylindrical bear trap after his vital signs and airway were checked.

It faced a long drive to be released in a wooded area, “probably 50-60 miles at minimum,” Mr Griffith said.