Posted: Oct 12, 2012 10:13 AM by Mike Powers - KPAX News
Updated: Oct 12, 2012 11:18 AM
MISSOULA- Bears coming down from the mountains are nothing new in Western Montana, but a momma and her two cubs caused a little more excitement than usual on Thursday.
The staff at the Days Inn at the Muralt's Travel Plaza was even out fluffing up pillows to help make them more comfortable.
There was no Goldilocks or porridge at the Wye, but there were three bears and apples, which helped to attract mom and two cubs to the Days Inn, just west of Missoula. And the staff was the first to welcome them.
"I was standing outside and a I felt something nudge the back of my leg, and I turned around and it was a bear cub.And I looked up and the mother was coming towards me. So, I ran into the hotel," Days Inn Manager Windy Hubbard recalled.
As Hubbard ran, the bears headed to the tree, and the curious gathered to watch while hotel workers blanketed the ground with dozens of pillows to help cushion any fall.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials who had been tracking their movement since Wednesday down O'Keefe Creek helped make a happy ending. FWP took aim from a second floor window and were able to tranquillize each bear.
The young male was the first to fall asleep and ended up landing in a net, meanwhile, momma hung on as long as she could before taking her nap. And after being tranquilized last, the female cub raced to the top of the tree, before snoozing in a snug place. That's when she was then hoisted safely to the ground by the FWP.
"I think she's trying to get to the river, that's where all the good foods are, and they're...trying to put on weight, and the females are a little bit more desperate than the young males because they're nursing. So, she has to get a good fat layer on before she dens up. So, she's done nothing wrong, she just got lost in humanity FWP Bear Manager Jamie Jonkel explained.
All three bears were safe and were transported closer to the river where Jonkel says which was likely their original destination.