A black bear was spotted eating scraps on top of a garbage truck in downtown Vancouver on Monday.

About eight police cars arrived at around 3:45 p.m., shortly after the animal was reported, and shut down the area near Cambie and West Georgia streets.

According to witnesses, an officer tranquillized the bear and carried it into a pickup truck to be released later.

"The police just patted its back and coaxed it down," said Karyn MacDonald, who arrived at the scene shortly after the animal was spotted. "I can't believe they just pet it."

MacDonald said the black bear appeared to be young but stood about five feet tall on its hind legs.

"They carried the [bear] down from the truck and everyone was cheering. The bear was OK and police said they are going to release him back into wild," she said.