Black bear escapes from Helena rehab facility

Posted at 11:05 AM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 13:05:52-04

HELENA – The Helena Police Department said on Wednesday morning that officers were notified that a yearling black bear "broke out of jail" at the Montana Wild facility.

The wildlife rehabilitation center is 2668 Broadwater Avenue. The bear apparently escaped sometime overnight; there is no word on how it managed to get away. 

Officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks are searching for the bear, but there is no indication where he may be or have gone. Police say that if you live in or travel the area, please keep your eyes open for him.

The HPD said: "We don’t have groups of bears wandering the community so we probably don’t have to note (but will) that it has a green ear tag to identify it as well."

If you see the bear, you are asked to call 911 immediately so that the bear can be safely returned to the rehab facility.

Officials caution that people shouldn’t approach the bear.

(UPDATE) Montana FWP provided the following information in a press release:

A small, female black bear escaped from Montana WILD’s wildlife rehabilitation center on the west side of Helena between 6 p.m. on April 17 and 8 a.m. on April 18. Montana WILD staff noticed the missing bear during a routine check at 8 a.m. on April 18.
The 3- to 4-year-old bear is dark brown and weighs approximately 60 pounds. She has a white ear tag with the number 3135. 
After notifying city and county law enforcement agencies, FWP wardens, staff and volunteers searched the premise including Spring Meadow Lake State Park but found no sign. Wardens continue to search for the bear in the general vicinity. Kessler Elementary School has been notified. The search will continue until the bear is found.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks takes extra precaution during the rehabilitation process to not habituate wild animals to humans. Therefore, people can expect this bear to be wild and skittish. 
The bear was brought to Montana WILD in February after it was found in an emaciated state with more than 200 porcupine quills in its mouth. Before the bear’s escape, it was doing well and was scheduled to be released into the wild this spring. 
The bear escaped through a chain-link fence in one of the holding enclosures used to house many bears over the years.
If you see the bear, please call 911 or FWP Warden Sgt. Justin Hawkaluk at 406-439-5768.

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