About a dozen volunteers safely lowered a tranquilized black bear Sunday morning from picturesque Rainbow Bridge near Donner Summit to the floor of a granite-strewn ravine.
"The bear was crossing the bridge as cars were coming from the east and west," said Baker. "(The cars) pinched the bear up and over the guard rail."
The bear apparently jumped to avoid the cars, then found itself trapped in the concrete girders beneath the highest point of the bridge from 3 p.m. Saturday until its eventual rescue at noon Sunday.
Baker and a man from Las Vegas tracked down a 20-by-40-foot nylon net from an Army surplus store in Reno. Assisted by rock and tree climbers, Baker strung the orange cargo mesh beneath the span of the 80-year-old bridge.
A Nevada County Animal Control official then shot the animal with a tranquilizer dart.
"We thought it would take 15 minutes -- no, it took forever," said Executive Director Ann Bryant, of the BEAR League, of the wait for the sedative to take effect. "He kept lifting his head up -- he was really fighting it."
According to Baker, Mike Turner, of Turner's Tree Service, donned a safety harness and lowered himself over the bridge in an effort to push the bear off the girder and into the net.
Bryant said the bear was in danger of falling toward the net's outside edge, which could have ended with the bear landing on the granite crags below.
"Then I yelled, 'It's a good time to give her a nudge - she'll just fall in there,'" Bryant said of the tense moment. "(Turner) just pushed her with a pole and a boot and the bear tumbled into the net. As soon as she fell, the net became a bag."
Source: Tahoe Daily Tribune