Bear crashes graduation in Bakersfield

The last day of classes at a California elementary school and a graduation ceremony at an adjacent middle school were interrupted by an unexpected guest: a black bear that wandered onto school property.

In this photo provided by Kern County Animal Control, a black bear that wandered onto school property during a Bakersfield school graduation is shown before being released in Kern County, Calif., Thursday, May 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Kern County Animal Control, Kim Rodriguez)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — The last day of classes at a California elementary school and a graduation ceremony at an adjacent middle school were interrupted by an unexpected guest: a black bear that wandered onto school property.

Kern County Animal Control officers say the young black bear approached Ramon Garza Elementary School in Bakersfield on Thursday, forcing students who were outside to return to their classrooms, and surprising students and parents attending a graduation ceremony at adjacent Sierra Middle School.

A teacher called authorities as the bear approached the schools, but the animal kept its distance and nobody was in danger.

Within minutes, officers cornered the animal at an apartment complex, hit it with a stun gun, and loaded it into a truck. They then released it back into the wild near the Tejon Ranch, 1 1/2 hours southeast of Bakersfield.

Authorities believe the 150-pound, 3-year-old bear followed the Kern River into town.

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Information from: The Bakersfield Californian, http://www.bakersfield.com


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