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Young black bear scampers through Utah neighborhood before being captured in a tree

MAPLETON — A busy young black bear scurried across a Mapleton neighborhood on Thursday and ate breakfast from a garbage can before officers chased and tranquillized the furry visitor.

Police received a call just before 8 a.m. Thursday from a neighbor who spotted the male yearling bear on the border of Springville and Mapleton while walking a dog, Mapleton police said on Facebook.

About half an hour later, another caller reported the animal was eating from his trash can. When crews arrived, the bear ran across a field and into a church meetinghouse parking lot at 1000 N. 400 East, where officers managed to chase him up a tree and tranquilize him.

"His claws were still in the tree, so they would just kind of slide down the tree, so he actually fell only a few feet," said Mapleton Police Chief John Jackson. "It was pretty neat."

In photos taken by one of his officers, the bear could be seen gazing out from a high branch on a pine tree and later snoozing in a container on the ground with a tagged ear. The Department of Natural Resources relocated the bear.

Mapleton officers praised those in the neighborhood who kept their distance, called police and helped them find and capture the animal, whose visit came exactly a month after officers captured and relocated a wandering young moose in Mapleton.

A few miles away in Springville, a 12- or 13-year-old Boy Scout received minor scratches from a bear on Tuesday while he was camping on private property in the left fork of Hobble Creek Canyon. The bear ran away after the boy started making noise.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said the 150-pound black bear, believed to be about 2 years old, was tracked down and euthanized. It was found in a tree just 400 feet away from the campsite.

DWR spokeswoman Faith Heaton Jolley said because of the long winter, more bears are waking up from hibernation later than in years past and looking for food.