UPDATED: June 19, 2014 3:45 p.m.

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WNEW) — A bear spotted near downtown Rockville on Thursday morning has been tranquilized in the woods in North Bethesda, authorities say.

The bear was tranquilized just after 3 p.m. Thursday in a wooded area on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, says WNEW senior correspondent Mark Segraves.

It took officers with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources several hours to get the bear to come down from a tree on the NIH campus.

Officers used several small “bottle rockets” to scare the bear down the tree but the animal ran off into the woods before officials could tranquilize it. After a short chase through the woods, officials shot the bear with two tranquilizers, Segraves says.

The bear is a male, about a year-and-a-half old, and weighs about 100 pounds, says WNEW’s Cameron Thompson. It will be released to a public area in the western part of Montgomery County near the Potomac River.

An official with DNR believes the bear at NIH likely is the same bear spotted in Rockville earlier Thursday, says Segraves.

Rockville Police say officers confirmed the sighting of a black bear a few miles from Rockville Town Center early Thursday morning.

Police said earlier Thursday that the bear spotted in Rockville didn’t pose an imminent threat to the public, and they would only put it down if it posed a life safety issue.

“The bear spotted today has made no aggressive movements,” Lt. Eric Over said. “We just want it to get back to its natural habitat.”

Over says it’s common for black bears to be spotted in Montgomery County as some push south from more rural northern areas. Local police say they’ve responded to several bear sightings over the past two years.

Police advise anyone who sees or encounters a bear to:

• Notify Rockville Animal Control at 240-314-8900 so it can be tracked.
• Do not offer any food to the bear.
• Do not approach or antagonize the bear.

WNEW’s Cameron Thompson contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.


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