A 400-pound black bear probably was in search of water this morning when it got more than it bargained for, sliding onto a barge on the Monongahela River in Clairton.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission received a call at 7:30 a.m. from an onlooker, said Gary Fujak, a wildlife conservation officer. Mr. Fujak and another officer went to the scene, where they put the male bear to sleep with a tranquilizer dart, weighed it and hoisted it from the barge. The U.S. Steel Corp., where the barge was parked, does not own the vessel, a spokeswoman said this afternoon.
Mr. Fujak said the bear is about 4 1/2 years old and likely came from Westmoreland or Washington County. He said he released the bear in southern Fayette County.
“For its safety, we didn’t want it running around Allegheny County. It could have gotten hit by a car,” Mr. Fujak said.
The bear would not have posed a risk to residents, he added: “Pennsylvania black bears are not aggressive.” If the bear had come face to face with a person, he said, it would likely have turned and lumbered away.