Tree bear in the Placerville shopping center

Trying to get a 400 pound bear out of a tree is no easy task, even if it is tranquilized.

This is the situation California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Bob Pera and four other wildlife officers met Saturday morning at the Missouri Flat Village mall in Placerville.

Pera said he got the call around 4:30 a.m. that a bear was wooded near the TJ Maxx. The bear, a female estimated to be between 8 and 15 years old, is thought to have passed through the Weber Creek drainage east of the mall where there are “a lot” of wildlife, according to Pera.

The bear reportedly passed through a homeless camp under the Weber Creek Highway 50 bridge, disturbing a few people there before exiting the canyon and entering the mall.

This is where the bear was startled by someone yelling at it, sending it about 12 feet into an oak tree on the east side of the parking lot.

The bear remained in the tree so to ensure the safety of the public and to get him out, he had to be tranquilized. Once the appropriate CDFW personnel were on site and ready to mobilize the bear using a bear trap, the medications were administered.

Described as a “fat” bear, Pera said it took around 15 minutes for the tranquilizer to take effect.

With the help of a Cal Fire firefighter and two medics from Diamond Springs-El Dorado Fire Protection District Station 49, CDFW officers then had to pull the bear from the branches of the oak tree. It was around 11 a.m.

“It took every piece of us to handle (the bear),” explained Pera, who worked for CDFW for 24 years. “Trying to pull 400 pounds out of a tree is work.”

Pera noted that the bear had been given a health check by a CDFW biologist and was in good health. There was no sign of lactation, so the bear is not thought to have any young cubs. He was also tagged on his ear so CDFW officers would know if they come into contact with the public again.

The bear was moved to the “nearest safe bear habitat” in El Dorado County, according to Pera.