Campus bear returned to the wild

A hungry black bear that wandered on to the University of Colorado campus and caused a stir before falling from a tree has been returned to the wild.

State wildlife official Jennifer Churchill said the 200lb male bear was tagged and taken to a remote Rocky Mountain area of ponderosa pines, with plenty of oak brush and chokeberry - food fit for a bear - west of Boulder.

The bear has become a celebrity since it wandered around a university residence hall in Boulder while looking for food and climbed a tree on Thursday. Wildlife officers eventually tranquillised it, and the bear dropped 15ft from its perch on to pads placed on the ground.

A photographer with the CU Independent online student newspaper captured a shot of the bear, its arms and legs akimbo, as it fell.

The bear landed on its back before a crowd of amazed students. Some stroked its paws after it was caged.

"It was really a perfect landing," campus police spokesman Ryan Huff told the Daily Camera.

Rhonda Chestnutt was putting coins into a parking meter near the Bear Creek student apartments when she felt shaggy fur brush against her legs.

Ms Chestnutt, who works for a leadership programme at the university, thought it was a large dog - until the bear looked back over its shoulder.

"It was like, 'Excuse me, pardon me, coming through'," she told the Camera. "It was running full speed."

Ms Churchill said bears emerge from winter hibernation in March and April and are scavenging for food.