Bear down: NC officials use jelly doughnuts to lure cub from tree

RALEIGH, N.C. — How do you coax a young black bear to climb down from a tree? Jelly doughnuts did the trick in North Carolina.

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The American black bear cub temporarily made its home in the branches outside UNC REX Healthcare in Raleigh and was lured to the ground by the sweet snack on Wednesday morning, WNCN reported.

According to police, the bear sat in the tree all day Tuesday.

On Tuesday night, members of the North Carolina Wildlife Commission put out jelly doughnuts and sardines near the tree, according to WRAL.

The plan worked, as the bear climbed down from the branches around midnight, ate some of the doughnuts and then left the area, WNCN reported.

Greg Batts, with the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, said he bought the doughnuts at a Krispy Kreme, WRAL reported. Batts squeezed the raspberry jelly out of the doughnuts around the base of the tree and then put them in a trail, along with the sardines, the television station reported.

“I threw out all this food out in the base of this tree and he’s laying up there in that tree and he’s just smelling that,” Batts told WRAL. “It’s just coming up into his nostrils and some point you know you just gotta say ‘I’m getting down out of here, I’m gonna grab some doughnuts and I’m gonna get out of town.’”

The hospital never had to close, as the bear did not pose a threat to the public.

“I was telling someone earlier, ‘At least it’s not a cobra,” Karen Alexander, a hospital visitor, told WNCN.

That was a reference to an escaped venomous pet zebra cobra that was observed slithering through a Raleigh neighborhood late last month.

>> Venomous zebra cobra roaming through North Carolina neighborhood

Officials said the bear is around 18 months old and between 70 pounds to 80 pounds, WRAL reported. The Raleigh Police Department has nicknamed the cub “Rex.”

Brad Howard, chief of the North Carolina Wildlife Management Division, said the bear found its way into the tree and figured it would find a way to get down on its own.

“He’s up there wondering, ‘Oh my, what did I get myself into?’” Howard told WNCN. “And so his thinking right now is, ‘How can I get out of here safely?’”

“Let nature play its course the way we typically see it do in these environments. Suddenly he’ll just be gone and maybe we’ll hear from him again. Maybe we don’t.”