A bear roaming the campus of Three Rivers Union School on Monday, April 3, was cause for the local kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school’s first-ever lockdown. The lockdown became protocol under the safety procedure policy that was adopted by the board of trustees last fall.
The incident occurred at 1 p.m. as the kindergarten class was being released. Parents picking up their children were escorted to their vehicles. The bear never threatened life or property.
“While I was trying to scare the bear away, it actually brushed me on the leg on the way by,” said Isaac Warner, sixth-grade teacher. “The bear seemed completely uninterested in what I was doing and my yelling.”
Within the hour, a state Fish and Wildlife officer arrived on the scene and the bear was tranquilized and removed from the campus. The procedure in similar incidents is to record the age, gender, and vital statistics, then euthanize the bear.
This cinnamon-colored American black bear (Ursus americanus) was seen pacing back and forth in several areas near the Middle and South forks of the Kaweah River. It was first noticed 10 days prior to the school incident exhibiting unusual behavior along the river bank near the Three Rivers Hideaway.
One resident in that area reported that some bear cubs had been swept away in the whitewater and this bear was looking for the lost cubs. The medium-sized bear appeared to be healthy physically but in each encounter was observed pacing back and forth indicating that it may have been distressed or disoriented.