Game Commission Brings Black Bear to Smethport

Smethport High School – In a captivating display of wildlife education, the Pennsylvania Game Commission delivered a special visitor to Crissy Lightner’s wildlife and fisheries class at Smethport High School on Friday.

The star of the show? A Pennsylvania black bear with a remarkable journey.

The bear, which has been closely monitored by the commission, provided students with a firsthand look at one of the state’s most iconic creatures. According to Sgt. Jeff Orwig, who led the presentation, this particular bear has quite the story to tell.

“It’s truly fascinating to witness the life and growth of these animals up close,” Orwig said during his presentation.

This bear’s journey began in Cameron County, where it was first tagged in its den on March 12, 2018. At that time, it weighed a mere 4.6 pounds, a tiny bundle of fur nestled with its mother. Fast forward to Feb. 6, 2019, and the bear was trapped again in Cameron County, now weighing a healthier 45 pounds. Once more, it was found in its den alongside its mother, indicating its gradual growth and development.

By June 10, 2020, the bear had put on even more weight, tipping the scales at 60 pounds. This steady growth was a testament to the bear’s successful navigation of the wild and its ability to thrive in its natural habitat.

However, the most astonishing transformation was recorded the day of its visit to Smethport.

On May 3 in Liberty Township the bear was captured once again, but this time, it weighed a staggering 422 pounds. This remarkable increase in size left students and onlookers in awe, providing a vivid illustration of the bear’s journey from a tiny cub to a beautiful, formidable healthy bear.

The presentation was filled with interesting facts about black bears and insights into wildlife conservation efforts and left a lasting impression on the students, school representatives said. Lightner thanked PGC for providing such a valuable hands-on learning experience.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have had this opportunity to learn from experts in the field,” Lightner said. “It’s experiences like these that ignite a passion for conservation and wildlife stewardship in our students.”

The bear was returned to its natural habitat following the presentation, serving as a reminder of the importance of coexisting appropriately with wildlife and preserving the rich biodiversity of Pennsylvania’s wilderness.

School representatives said the visit will “undoubtedly remain a cherished memory for students and educators alike, sparking curiosity and fostering a deeper appreciation for the natural world.”