Bear goes to school in Morgan; wildlife officers tranquilize, relocate it
MORGAN — A black bear wandered onto the grounds of Morgan Middle School early Monday and wildlife officers later tranquilized it and moved it back to familiar habitat.
School staff members saw the bear in fenced playing fields on the school’s north side at about 7 a.m., said Gwen Romero, Morgan School District spokesperson.
Animal control and state wildlife officers were called. The bear climbed a tree in a nearby park and wildlife officers used hounds to keep it there until it could be tranquilized.
“We usually only get deer down here. It was very exciting,” said Romero, who’s also a teacher at nearby Morgan High School. “Some of my seniors wanted to bring the bear for graduation.”
Game wardens shot the bear with a tranquilizer and trucked it to more remote bear habitat, according to Faith Heaton Jolley, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokesperson.
Spring is prime time for bears emerging from hibernation and venturing into urban areas, Jolley said, and the ongoing drought makes those forays more common. “There can potentially be bears looking more broadly for food in drought years,” she said.
Droughts impact vegetation, which according to the DWR makes up 90% of a black bear’s diet. “We’re anticipating a possible increase in incidents this year of bears getting into people’s garbage and scavenging for food,” DWR biologist Darren DeBloois said in a news release.