A male black bear took an improbable road trip after he hitched a ride on a garbage truck and ended up in downtown Vancouver, Canada, Monday.
Believed to be up to 18 months old, the bear was caught on video roaming on top of a garbage truck as conservation officers climbed the truck in order to tranquillize the bear, all in the heart of downtown Vancouver. It's unclear where the bear hitched the ride.
While the bear's appearance surprised many city residents, Dave Cox, a conservation officer with the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service, says it makes sense that a bear ended up in the back of a garbage truck.
"Bears are a very opportunistic animal." Cox said of the chance that a bear would get into a garbage truck. "He would probably just climb inside and find a whole bunch of used garbage and had a big feast."
Once in Vancouver, Cox says, the bear was spotted after sticking his head from the truck.
While Cox says the bear initially appeared nervous as officers approached him, the bear's appetite actually kept him calm as officers prepared to tranquillize him.
"His priority is food. No one is harassing him too much and he has a food source in front him," Cox said. "He's occupied. "
While bears and other wild animals are not a common site on the streets of Vancouver, this is not the first time in recent months that a wild animal made its way into an urban area in British Columbia. A cougar was shot Dec. 8 by police officials after being spotted at a ferry terminal in Victoria, Canada.
Luckily for the black bear, officials deemed the unlikely hitchhiker a good candidate to be released back into the wild, because he did not act aggressive or confrontational. "The bear had no priors with us," Cox said.
As news of a bear in the city captivated residents, a twitter feed started Monday afternoon titled @downtown_bear. Tweeting from the bear's point of view, it laid out his plans for the day.
"Swim over to Granville island for lunch. I hear their dumpsters are organic," read one tweet.
In spite of what the tweets reported, the bear was actually tranquillized and tagged before being released back into the wild near Whistler, Canada, earlier this week.