School staff in Bozeman, Montana learned a valuable lesson about keeping their doors closed after a wild black bear wandered into a high school on Wednesday. According to wildlife officials, the bear came in through an open garage door just an hour before students arrived for class. The inquisitive bruin wandered through the empty halls for several minutes—sniffing lockers and nervously pawing the walls—before it was found by a custodian and members of the school booster club.
“They were being careful. They were keeping a good, safe distance,” Principal Kevin Conwell told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
“This is my first ‘bear-in-a-building’ experience. It just kind of landed in our lap,” Conwell added.
Students began snapping pictures of the confused bear as it made its way to the school’s shop class. Witnesses say the bear appeared to be calm and at no point showed any signs of aggression.
You can see a video of the animal below:
As the bear was preoccupied with sniffing new and interesting things, staff opened nearby doors in an attempt to lure the bear out. It eventually took the hint and left the building just as local police arrived. Officers and wardens from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) followed the bear out into an open field where it eventually disappeared into the trees. Since the bear did not appear to be aggressive and was merely curious, wildlife officials decided not to pursue it any further. Bears are common in the area near Bozeman and residents are used to bears coming to town to scavenge some food.
“We have bears get into things every year,” FWP bear specialist Kevin Frey told the Billings Gazette.
Usually, that means dumpsters and the occasional garage, but Frey says he never heard of a bear inside a high school before.