Bouncy houses cushion bear’s fall from tree

CONWAY, Ark. — When a black bear climbed a tree in a central Arkansas city and refused to come down, authorities turned to unconventional rescue tools: bouncy houses.

Conway Police spokeswoman La Tresha Woodruff says Foster the Bear is named for the residential street where he holed himself up in a tree, straddled a branch and wouldn’t budge.

She says officials shot Foster with tranquilizer darts late Monday, causing him to fall asleep. They inflated two bouncy houses — usually reserved for children’s parties — beneath the tree. And then firefighters let loose with water from a fire hose, knocking the bear from his perch.

The edge of the inflatable houses broke Foster’s fall.

Woodruff says Foster wasn’t hurt. Wildlife officials plan to release him back into the wild.

Printed on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 as: If you want a bear out of a tree, you first find a bouncy house