What did we tell you? It's the Rise of the Planet of the Black Bears!

Here in L.A. County, they've begun staking out our sidewalk trees and taking Memorial Day dips in our infinity-edge swimming pools. (No joke.) And now, out in Bakersfield, they're apparently shooting for their GEDs:

Rural TV news stations were aflutter with footage of a tween-aged bear cub…

… loping between the playgrounds of Ramon Garza Elementary School and Sierra Middle School, where an outdoor graduation was reportedly taking place.

That's Garza on the left, and Sierra on the right:

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Here's some pretty awesome footage of the bear making his way past the jungle gym. But that's where the fun and games tapered off — as students were rushed into their classrooms and Kern County Sheriff's deputies were summoned to confront the beast.

A heartbreaking KGET video report shows the bear being Tasered by law enforcement at a nearby apartment complex.

But it wasn't his fault! Department of Fish and Game officer Andrew Halverso tells ABC23 that because the weather has been so dry, the baby bear “was probably seeking water to seek food and it probably came down the Kern River channel. … Bears will go a long way for food if they're hungry.”

At least this little guy didn't suffer the fate of the young Santa Monica mountain lion who accidentally wandered into a business courtyard on 2nd Street last month — only to be shot dead by local police officers. (Animal activists, as expected, aren't loving that decision.)

Anyway — nice try, bud. You probably deserve some kind of honorary degree for being the most exciting thing to happen to Bakersfield since last year's cock-fighting championships.

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

LA Weekly