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Bear smart: Tips to stay safe after ‘Smokey’ the bear tranquilized at state fairgrounds

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- A large black bear that police said was trying to get over the iron fence into the Washington State Fair grounds and then climbed up a tree was shot with a tranquilizer gun Wednesday and was going to be taken back into the wild, Puyallup police said.

The bear was found near the westbound SR 512 on-ramp, police said.

"We let Smokey know that he was 2 months early for the @WAStateFair," the Puyallup Police Department tweeted. "We told him we would save him some scones, hamburgers, french fries, onion rings and anything else he would like as long as he had a ticket. We are very certain that we will see him again."

Police said once the bear was tranquilized, he fell from the tree into a tarp that had been set up below by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"This Smokey has been to our town before and he will be taken back again to his home," police tweeted. "He must have used his nose to find the smells of the Fair once again."

Staying 'bear smart'

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park has some tips on how to stay "bear smart" this summer.

Bears need to eat about 10,000 calories a day which sometimes pushes them into yards to find food.

"It's our responsibility to be bear smart," said Angela Gibson with Northwest Trek. "And what that means is in our neighborhoods we are using bear safe trash cans and containers. We're cleaning up our compost. We are putting our birdseed away. The birds don't eat it this time of year. You put up your pet food or any feeds you have out there and keep everything cleaned up and maintained."

Here are a few other tips:

  • If you're out hiking, keep your food away from where you are sleeping.
  • Try not to wear a perfume or any strong smelling detergent
  • If you see a bear, give them space, make eye contact and back away
  • Don't scream or run, just move away until they move on