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New Mexico bear hitches a ride on top of a garbage truck

 
In this July 18 photo provided by Evan Welsch, a bear hitches a ride on top of a garbage truck in Los Alamos National Labs in Los Alamos, N. M. [Associated Press]
In this July 18 photo provided by Evan Welsch, a bear hitches a ride on top of a garbage truck in Los Alamos National Labs in Los Alamos, N. M. [Associated Press]
Published Aug. 4, 2016

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — A New Mexico bear hitched a ride on top of a garbage truck, traveling at least 5 miles on the vehicle before making its escape up a tree.

Santa Fe National Forest spokeswoman Julie Anne Overton says the driver was picking up a dumpster last week when he heard a squeal then realized the bear was on top of the truck. It rode atop the vehicle to a site where the Forest Service keeps a firefighting helicopter.

Helicopter mechanic Evan Welsch, who snapped photos of the bear, said about 30 Forest Service and National Park workers had gathered to see the spectacle when it was suggested that the driver back up near a tree to give the animal an escape route.

The bear stayed in the tree for an hour or two before scurrying down and running off.