A small black bear that spent three weeks roaming Sandy Springs was caught in a neighborhood along Heards Ferry Road on Thursday afternoon and was headed to north Georgia on Friday, July 2.

“We believe this bear is the same bear we’ve heard reports for about three weeks. The beer has been in the Sandy Springs area, bouncing all over the place,” said Kaitlin Goode with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Urban Wildlife Program.

The small black bear was awake as the Georgia DNR prepared to take it to far north Georgia for relocation on July 2. (Georgia DNR)

The bear was seen in the neighborhood near Fire Station No. 53 on Raider Drive, and the Sandy Springs Fire Department contacted the DNR on July 1 around 3 p.m., Goode said. The firefighters kept an eye on the bear until the DNR could arrive.

Goode said this gave them the opportunity to tranquilize and relocate the bear.

She said the male black bear was probably 2½ years old and weighed approximately 120 pounds, which put it on the small side.

“This time of year is when breeding season happens. Larger bears kick smaller bears out,” Goode said.

When metro residents see black bears wandering in their neighborhoods or in other unusual places, they are trying to find their own home range.

“We try and let bears find their own way out of the city. But sometimes they don’t. This bear had been in the city limits of Sandy Springs for three weeks now,” she said.

After that length of time the DNR would try to intervene and relocate it to a more suitable habitat, she said.

On Friday the DNR tagged the bear, gave it an identifying tattoo and put a GPS collar on it so they can see where it goes after its release.

“It’s on its way to be released now. I handed it off to another biologist, who will take it to the very north part of Georgia,” Goode said early Friday afternoon.

Being Bear Wise

Sandy Springs residents should give a bear lots of space if they see one. Goode said to make sure the bears just pass on through, residents should keep trash inside, empty bird feeders and keep their pets inside.

The best site for homeowners and business owners to find simple tips to discourage bears from hanging out in their yard, neighborhood or area is the BearWise website (bearwise.org), said Melissa Cummings of the Georgia DNR.

Sandy Springs firefighters kept an eye on the black bear as it roamed a Heards Ferry Road neighborhood, giving the Georgia DNR an opportunity to tranquilize it for later relocation. (Sandy Springs Fire Department)
The black bear was tranquilized for its safety and for Georgia DNR biologists who worked to relocate it from Sandy Springs. (Sandy Springs Fire Department)

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.