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Black Bear Captured One Block from UCA Campus

The 250-pound male was first spotted on Hillman St. Thursday morning

CONWAY, Ark. - The University of Central Arkansas came close to getting a real mascot. A black bear spotted one block from campus on Hillman Street early Thursday morning.

The story has everyone talking and one neighbor said he had no idea the bear was in the area until we showed him the pictures to prove it.

"I've never heard of anything like that," said Patrick Jeans.

Jeans was baffled to learn a 250-pound male black bear was in his neighborhood, a block away from the UCA campus.

"I'm just surprised you know. It's right in the middle of Conway. I could see if it's on the outskirts or something but, something had to be going on for that bear to venture that far," Jeans added.

A neighbor saw the bear on Hillman on his way to work and called 911. Police, fire and Arkansas Game and Fish all showed up to remove the bear from a tree. They got the bear down safely with the help of a tranquilizer gun and mattress.

"You know, I just, props to the Police Department and all the people that worked on it getting the situation under control," continued Jeans.

The word spread quickly around town and on social media.

"Everyone kept saying a real bear! Not Bruce the bear..not the mascot an actual bear is on or near campus," said UCA Spokeswoman Christina Madsen. "We find it very amusing because we are the bears and we have thousands of bears here as students at UCA."

A common word in these parts, but definitely not a common occurrence.

"I've heard of stories of them being out in the woods and stuff but that's just strange,"said Jeans.

The black bear was taken to a wildlife refuge management center south of Conway where it was released. Officials with the Arkansas Fish and Game said it's not unusual to see them across the state. If you spot one, stay away and call for help.

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