Young bear who won hearts in downtown Hickory is back home in the woods

The 80-pound bear cub that won the state’s heart Wednesday for getting lost in downtown Hickory is safely back in the woods.

Tired, and probably hungry, the bear wandered back by the Hickory Police Department and into the woods adjacent to that building late Wednesday afternoon, reports the Lincoln Herald.

Wildlife Officers said they believed he’d make his way back to the wild, so they packed up and went home not long after, it was reported.

The small black bear was first spotted in Hickory Tuesday evening, and eventually found his way onto First Avenue, where he temporarily took up residence in a tree behind a liquor store. Once word get out, crowds and TV stations showed up to cover the rare downtown bear visit. He stayed up in the tree a couple of hours.

North Carolina Wildlife officers were prepared to take action, but decided to wait and see if the 18-month-old bear found his way home without help.

It is believed the young bear’s mother probably ran him off because he’s old enough to survive on his own, reported the Herald.