Three bears that climbed high into a persimmon tree on the campus of Hendersonville High School climbed down and walked away shortly after noon today, ending the morning excitment that had closed off Oakland Avenue and the school yard.
Authorities had decided to wait out a mother bear and two cubs perched high in a persimmon tree on the campus of Hendersonville High School this morning, munching on fruit and causing police to cordon off Oakland Avenue and the school yard.
Wildlife officer A.J. Stronach said at 9 a.m. the best way to respond to the situation was to keep the area quiet and wait for the mother bear and her two mid-sized cubs to climb down and walk away.
"Black bears are not aggressive," said Stronach. "They're more afraid of us than we are of them."
His solution worked.
The bears came down, the mother first followed by the two juvenile cubs, about 12:20 p.m. They wandered off northwest of the campus toward Ninth Avenue behind a dentist's office.
The two cubs were near the top of the 75-foot persimmon tree between the senior steps and the sundial on the Oakland Avenue side of the HHS campus. One factor that could have kept the bears in the tree for some time is the fact that they really love persimmons and this summer has produced a sparse crop of acorns.
The bears may have come from the woods in a neighborhood west of the high school. HHS Principal Bobby Wilkins said a teacher who lives close to Hendersonville Elementary School called him last night about a mother bear and two cubs walking east toward the high school where students were gathered in the stadium for the traditional homecoming week powderpuff football game.
The bears were already up in the tree early today when the first students and teachers arrived before 7 a.m.
"We got here this morning and the trash cans were turned over," Wilkins said.
The bears' visit to the home of the Bearcats was one more unususal event during HHS's homecoming week, which traditionally features dress-up days, an HHS Hall of Fame induction and homecoming game.
"It's been an interesting week," Wilkins said.
Stronach and city police had cordoned off Oakland Avenue between Eight and Ninth avenues and also blocked students' access to the lawn west of the high school.
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