CASTLE VALLEY, Grand County — A mother bear and her two cubs were removed from a tree in the front yard of a Castle Valley home on Friday afternoon, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
A woman was watering plants in her yard Friday morning when she heard a branch break in the tree above her, said Chris Wood, regional supervisor for the division’s southeastern region. She looked up, expecting to see a squirrel or bird — and was surprised to see three bears instead.
“They were just chilling up in a tree,” Wood said.
The woman called dispatch, and rescuers from DWR, the Bureau of Land Management and the Moab Valley Fire Department were sent to remove the bears from their perch. With the help of a fire truck ladder and with plenty of blankets stretched underneath the tree to catch the bears if they fell, the first responders tranquilized the furry family and safely caged them.
The bears will be relocated Saturday morning to a remote location far from Castle Valley.
In the meantime, Wood said, the bears are now awake, being fed and “are happy as can be.”
The Moab Valley Fire Department in a Facebook post described the removal process as an “amazing experience,” adding that responders were “very thoughtful to make sure these animals were taken good care of.”
The mother and her cubs were likely attracted to Castle Valley because of the abundance of fruit orchards nearby, DWR spokeswoman Faith Heaton Jolley said. There’s been an increase in bear activity in the area recently, according to Jolley, which is typical of late summer.
“It’s kind of that time of year,” Jolley said. “Bears are out scavenging for food, so we want people to stay safe.”
Several traps have been set for other bears seen wandering around the area lately, Wood said. If those bears are caught, they’ll be relocated, too.
The DWR encourages Utahns to bear-proof their homes if possible, and to make sure there isn’t anything in their yard that might attract a bear.
“And if you do see a bear in your area, especially an urban area, give us a call,” Jolley said.