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Bear captured on Rio Rancho west side

From left, RRPD officers Gary Ross, Logan Sims and Clayton Reid, an unidentified Game and Fish officer, and RRPD Lt. Nicholas Onken remove a male black bear weighing at least 250 pounds from Rio Rancho, where it was captured Sunday. (Source: Rio Rancho Police Department)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Officers from the Rio Rancho Police Department and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish successfully captured a bear in western Rio Rancho on Sunday morning, only about two miles northwest of where another bear was captured on Albuquerque’s West Side three days earlier.

The Rio Rancho bear was first reported to RRPD on Friday near Tulip Road and Arkansas Street, said Lt. Ken Willey, a spokesman for the department. RRPD officers were joined by Game and Fish in trying to keep the bear contained, but were unsuccessful.

“It was pretty elusive, it kept running away from noise and stuff,” Willey said.

The Game and Fish officers called off the search, thinking that the bear had probably bedded down in the afternoon heat.

“The bear just disappeared on us, probably went and climbed up a tree and went to sleep,” said Dan Williams, spokesman for Game and Fish.

The Albuquerque bear was captured by Game and Fish near Desert Greens Golf Course on Thursday, the day before the Rio Rancho bear was first reported.

Bear specialist Daryl Ratajczak said the bears likely wandered into the residential area in pursuit of food for their winter hibernation.

“They will follow natural corridors,” he said. “Things like arroyos and rivers act like natural highways.”

The Rio Rancho bear was not seen again until Sunday morning, when another bear sighting near 19th Street and Westside Blvd., just off Unser, was reported. Officers from both departments successfully tranquilized and captured that bear – which may not have been the same bear that was reported on Friday, according to Willey.

The Rio Rancho bear was a male black bear weighing at least 250 pounds and was set to be relocated to another area, Williams said.