Bear Wanders Into N.M. Medical Clinic
MATT MYGATT, Associated Press Writer
20 minutes ago
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A young black bear ambled through a medical clinic's automatic door early Friday and into a gastroenterology lab, the perfect place for a tranquilizer.
"I think the person in the waiting room was pretty surprised," said Todd Sandman, director of public relations for Presbyterian Health Care Services, which runs the lab in Rio Rancho, on the outskirts of Albuquerque.
It was shortly before 7:30 a.m., and there weren't many people in the lab when the bear showed up, Sandman said. All the humans evacuated while animal control officers were called in to figure out what to do with the bear.
"Apparently, the bear was very calm and retreated into a side room and then further into a bathroom," said Dan Williams, a New Mexico Department of Game and Fish spokesman.
The department's officers used a tranquilizer gun to sedate the bear, believed to be 2 or 3 years old and about 125 pounds. Then they loaded it into a bear trap _ essentially a big steel cylinder on wheels _ and took it to the Manzano Mountains, where the bear was released, Williams said.
Williams said the bear likely wandered in from the Manzano Mountains, about 20 miles to the southeast; the Jemez Mountains, about 35 miles to the north; or the Sandia Mountains, about 10 miles to the east.
Bears occasionally show up in the Albuquerque area. Williams said the one in the clinic appeared to be a bit skinny and may have recently come out of hibernation looking for food.
Officials tagged the bear on an ear before releasing it _ "so we'll recognize him if we see him again," Williams said. "Visiting hours are over for that bear."