Bear removed from Portsmouth highway

Published 9:11 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A male black bear was removed from state route 164 in Portsmouth Wednesday morning after police received several calls, according to a police spokeswoman.

The bear was first seen wandering in a grassy area next to the Townpoint Road exit around 5:30 a.m., said Portsmouth police spokeswoman Detective Jan Westerbeck.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries tranquilized the 350-pound bear around 8:30 a.m. with the assistance of the Portsmouth Police Department.

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Aaron Proctor, district wildlife biologist for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said after the bear was hit by the tranquilizers, it ran across four lanes of the road, which were blocked by police, and made it halfway up an exit ramp before it passed out.

Proctor, another game department associate and several police officers lifted the bear into a transport cage.

The bear was taken to the district office in Surry and would be released when it woke up, Proctor said.

He said the bear most likely wandered from the Great Dismal Swamp area to find a mate.