Bear wanders through a NC downtown for 45 minutes

Asheville, NC - ASHEVILLE, NC (AP) - A black bear took a 45-minute stroll through a western North Carolina city during a busy lunch hour.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that a young bear sauntered through downtown Asheville on Wednesday. Police say the bear did not appear aggressive.

Dozens of gawkers watched and took pictures as it wandered several city blocks before disappearing behind a park.

Wildlife biologist Mike Carraway from NC Wildlife Resources Commission says the relatively small animal likely was a yearling recently banished from its home territory by its mother, which is normal this time of year.

He says the bear should have plenty to eat in the wild now so it probably wasn't forced to look for food elsewhere.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.