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Bear in Bemidji tranquilized, relocated

BEMIDJI - A bear that wandered into the Bemidji city limits Friday morning was tranquilized and relocated later in the day.

The bear’s presence prompted law enforcement to temporarily close the trail that runs along Lake Bemidji’s edge behind Bemidji State University.

The bear was first spotted about 6 a.m. near BSU. Bemidji police officers found the bear near the statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox at the Lake Bemidji waterfront.

Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin said people were taking photos of the bear and it got “spooked,” running off northbound along the bicycle trail.

By 8 a.m., law enforcement, aided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and BSU security, had blocked off a portion of the trail where the bear fell asleep. Existing fences limited access to the trail, and people using the trail were advised to avoid the bear.

The bear was tranquilized in the afternoon and was not harmed, according to a police department release.

Shelley Gorham, DNR Bemidji Area Wildlife supervisor, said the bear, estimated to weigh at least 200 pounds and suspected to be a young male, was relocated to an area state forest.

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