Black Bear Has Left Montclair Safely (UPDATED)

Montclair, NJ – A black bear that had made its way through Montclair Monday, spotted behind the main library and in backyards along Union Street, has been safely transported out of the township.

Montclair Animal Control Officer Michele Shiber and her team followed and supervised the bear, in a collaborative effort with Montclair Police, until New Jersey Fish and Wildlife arrived to immobilize the bear and safely take it to a less populated area in New Jersey. Montclair Fire Dept. also donated manpower to assist with securing the bear in netting during the tranquilizing process.

The bear was tranquilized and tagged on the ear and also received a tattoo on its lip for future identification purposes. The bear was roughly 18 months old and between 140-160 pounds according to Shiber.

The rescue happened after the bear crossed the street and then climbed in a tall tree near Gates and Union, across from an apartment building. Shiber said the Fish and Wildlife arrived at the perfect time since bears can be unpredictable and there was concerns that the bear was not that far from Washington Street and Bullock School.

The bear was first seen in Montclair Monday morning, near Gates and Bloomfield Avenues. Police were notified by a resident who spotted the bear in a tree around 7 a.m.


It’s not the first time Montclair has had a bear visit. A black bear visited Montclair in 2016 and caused quite the stir. In 2013, a black bear was in Watchung Park near the Watchung Train Station.

Bear sightings have been on the rise all over New Jersey with a report of one in the Caldwell/Essex Fells area on Sunday and more around the state as bears wake from hibernation. Last week, a small black bear clung to a utility pole in Wyckoff.

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  1. I generally think Murphy has done a pretty good job, but ending the bear hunt was a mistake. Liberals have a blind spot on this sort of thing. When it comes to climate change and epidemiology, the mantra is “follow the science”. We then have a whole agency full of biologists that tell us exactly how many bears need to go every year to keep population levels at a sustainable level and we ignore them and cancel the hunt. Unless you’re going to undevelop northern New Jersey, the hunt is necessary. Woman was attacked recently getting her mail. A couple of dogs were attacked and killed a few months ago. It will continue and get worse.

  2. In the last 10 years (2012-2021), statewide, there were 9 unprovoked bear attacks of dogs. For the same period, there were 5 humans attacked. In 2021 there were no incidents in either category. –NJ Dept of Fish & Wildlife

    It is the stated mission of the NJ Dept of Fish & Wildlife to promote hunting and the tourism dollars it brings to the state. The biologists work for them. And you got upset that Mayor Spiller served on the Board of School Estimate?

  3. And in 2022 we now have 2 dog attacks and 1 human. I absolutely trust state biologist’s recommendations on bear populations over Gov Murphy’s. You can see exactly how this plays out because it’s happened in other states. Washington banned the hunting of lions with dogs. Depredation went through the roof in the years that followed. They now spend millions of dollars a year paying subcontractors to kill lions. They used to make money selling hunting permits, not they spend a great deal more money doing the same thing just less efficiently. And you got upset that the school board wastes money?

  4. montclairskier,

    You just keep emphasizing my point – you’re sensationalizing the risk. I, on the other hand, don’t need to sensationalize the wasteful spending by the school district. It is omnipresent.

    Of the 264 bear incidents YTD, you focus on these three. Hence, we need to kill 400-600 bears each season because…? Right, to protect property.

    And because of the threat to public safety, NJ says go ahead and use a bow & arrow. And if you don’t kill it/just wound the bear, it doesn’t count against your daily limit.

    I trust the unbiased biologists as much as I trust the chemists at the former Phillip Morris. Yes, the chemists may have told their bosses what the science said. How is that for sensational?

  5. Your case would be stronger if you used the ‘harvesting’ (yes, that it their term for hunting this ‘renewable resource’) as an ancillary benefit of the sports & entertainment industry.

  6. Seems like there were bears all over on Sunday, just after that strange tornado-like downpour. Wayne, Mahwah, Caldwell, Essex Fells, Montclair and more.

  7. Are you also against the deer hunt? Way more deer taken and it’s regulated by those same biologists in the bag of “big tourism”. They are less cute though. I never see the same activists protesting the deer hunt. I don’t use the term harvest, seems like a euphemism. I kill my own food. It’s free range, grass fed, and antibiotic free. I process it myself from start to finish. You certainly have every right to pay someone else to kill animals for you, but it doesn’t make it any more ethical.

    I always wonder how people think animals die in the wild without hunting. Do you picture a bear laying his big bear head down in a bed of pine needles and drifting off for his final hibernation? Doesn’t happen, not for deer or bear. Animals don’t die of old age in the wild. They get killed by other bears, hit by cars, freeze or starve because they didn’t find enough to eat in the fall. Deer meet some really unfortunate ends. Caught in fences, eaten alive by coyotes or loose dogs, any number of illnesses. The end is always violent, even if you can’t see it from your computer chair.

  8. Thank you montclairskier. I was kind of down this morning and was thinking of a day trip for me to pity city. Then I read your post.

  9. Yes, and the prevalence of lazy minds is way up since Jan 6, 2020.

    The good news is Essex County’s reign of bear terror is down 67% year-to-date. Unfortunately, humans leaving dead animals in County Parks is up 100% year to date. Not a shocker there, right?

    PS: I chastised Montclair Local for their low reporting standards on the bear encounter subject. Hopefully, they will do better.

  10. montclairskier,

    Moving past all the dumping of bodies in the new Meadowlands (Eagle Rock), do you have a sense of foreboding this year for Montclair?

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