Pesky bear relocated to national forest

CENTRALIA - In the 50 years Stellajoe Staebler has lived off Seminary Hill Road, she's seen a couple of black bears.

On Friday morning, that second bear stared at her through metal bars of a cage. Although the bear had rummaged through the 94-yearold’s garbage cans the previous weekend and dropped scat in her yard, Staebler felt a bit of sadness seeing the juvenile bear caged and unsure of its future.

“I wish we could live peaceably together,” Staebler said, looking at the bear in a transportable cage, lent by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, off the side of her driveway.

“I would hope they take it to a denser forest so it can roam free ... without being a pest.”

On Friday afternoon, Fish and Wildlife officials tagged and transported the bear — sex unidentified — to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest outside of Packwood. From an unidentified location, officials released the bear and briefly put a dog — of the Karelian variety — on its tail to train it to understand that this is the kind of treatment it can expect when snooping around residential areas.

Lance Martin, an officer with Fish and Wildlife, said it’s not uncommon for younger bears to be the marauders of suburban areas. He estimated the bear to be a yearling and not quite 100 pounds.