Forget about social distancing: N.J. neighborhood gathers for bear in tree

MILLBURN, N.J. (WCBS/CNN) – Apparently, this is what substitutes for entertainment in the middle of a pandemic.

When a black bear sauntered into a Millburn neighborhood on Monday, it was like a celebrity was in town. (Source: The Solomons, WCBS, CNN)

When a black bear sauntered into a Millburn neighborhood on Monday, it was like a celebrity was in town.

Everyone showed up to catch a glimpse of the critter and social distancing was out the window.

“The neighborhood lit up with email and texts,” said Danny Mandel. “Seeing something we don’t see every day.”

People were everywhere, bringing out binoculars and cameras to get a closer look at the bear in a tree.

Hanging all day, well above the ground, the bear was too high to tranquilize, so the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife said it was going to wait for it to come down.

Officers set a trap below.

“I’ve been in the neighborhood 12 years, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a bear,” said Lee Winter. "It’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in the quarantine.”

It is apparently more entertaining than digital school. Just ask 10-year-old Gus Grove.

“Pretty cool,” he said. “I missed one class by accident because I was really sidetracked.”

It’s better than working from home, too.

“It’s crazy, it’s a huge spectacle,” said Brian Cariddi. “I haven’t seen this many people together in a while.”

So many people were out to watch the bear that police had to warn folks to maintain their social distancing.

All the excitement ended Monday evening, when the bear crawled down from the tree and scampered away.

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