Bear caught in Ventura, released to wild

A bear, likely the one that was hit by a car in Ventura more than a week ago, was caught in the backyard of a Ventura resident early this morning.

The young male bear was released this afternoon into Los Padres National Forest after a veterinarian for the state Department of Fish and Game examined him.

Doug Newlee said he was inside his home on El Cerrito Street when he heard his black lab barking in the backyard around 6:30 a.m. He went out back to see what the dog was barking at.

“I saw it was somebody up in the tree. Then I could see it had fur,” he said.

Newlee wondered if a dog had somehow gotten up in the tree. He brought his dogs in the house and then heard his neighbor knocking on his door.

The neighbor asked if he knew there was a bear in his backyard.

“Then I realized, ‘Oh my God, it’s a bear,’” Newlee said.

Ventura police, state Department of Fish and Game and county animal control showed up to help with the bear, which appeared to be injured.

The bear was tranquilized without incident and taken to the California Wildlife Center, a wildlife rehabilitation facility, said Cindy Wood, a warden for the Department of Fish and Game.

The vet examined the bear, which Wood guessed was about three or four years old and weighed about 225 pounds. Though it had some abrasions and injuries, the vet felt it could be released, which was done around 1 p.m. at Los Padres National Forest, Wood said.

It was likely the bear was the same one hit by a car more than a week ago. Wood said they couldn’t confirm that it was the same bear, but it did have abrasions and injuries.

An adult black bear was hit on July 16 on Blackburn Road, which is nearby. Authorities searched the area at the time, but did not find the bear.

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