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‘Rare’ cinnamon bear caught, shown off to 600 school kids, Pennsylvania officials say

How to handle bear encounters

Heading out on a hike? An Idaho Fish and Game officials provides tips for identifying black and grizzly bears and what to do when you encounter each.
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Heading out on a hike? An Idaho Fish and Game officials provides tips for identifying black and grizzly bears and what to do when you encounter each.

School children in central Pennsylvania got an up-close wildlife lesson this week, the state’s game commission said.

Game wardens caught a 332-pound male black bear in Snyder County on Thursday after complaints came in reporting a nuisance bear was tampering with local chicken coops, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said in a Facebook post Friday. But it wasn’t just any black bear: It was a rarely-seen cinnamon-colored bear, game wardens said.

Officials shared a photo of the bear — apparently sedated — as it rested on the grass.

The game warden who set the trap and another warden decided to bring the bear to Indian Valley Elementary School “due to the uniqueness of the situation,” officials said.

Roughly 600 students at the school and a handful of teachers got “the rare opportunity to see a cinnamon-colored black bear and learn more about it,” officials said.

Once the lesson was over, game wardens moved the bear to Rothrock State Forest in Mifflin County and released it, according to the Facebook post.

The post went up Friday and had been shared more than 400 times within a few hours.

“Great catch and most importantly sharing this with the kids at school,” one Facebook commenter wrote. “I’m sure they loved seeing it.”

Another thanked the game wardens for bringing the bear to the school, writing that her “son talked about this as soon as he got home from school.”

Cinnamon-colored bears are more commonly associated with the Rocky Mountain region, according to a 2015 study published in Molecular Biology and Evolution.

The state game commission did not immediately respond to McClatchy’s request for more details on the elementary school visit.

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