The bigger they are, the harder they fall. But thanks to a gym mat carefully positioned under a tree, this 90kg black bear had a soft landing.

He had taken refuge 4.5 metres up after being spotted roaming around a Colorado university campus in the US.

After two hours, wildlife officials decided the only way to get the bear back into the woods was to shoot him with a tranquiliser dart.

But no one, unsurprisingly, fancied standing underneath the tree to catch him. That's when they brought in the heaviest of heavy-duty gym mats and placed it directly underneath.


Then they took aim and fired. After a brief wait, the bear began to look woozy, lost his balance and toppled out of the tree, landing safely on the mat.

He was put into a cage and taken about 80 kilometres into the Rocky Mountains where he was tagged and released back into the wild. The bear scare started at the University of Colorado when staff member Rhonda Chestnutt felt something shaggy brush against her legs as she fed a parking meter at the campus in Boulder.

'It was like, "Excuse me, pardon me, coming through". It was running full speed,' she said.

A Colorado wildlife official said bears start coming out of hibernation at this time of year and scavenge for food.

- Daily Mail