A black bear captured on top of a garbage truck in downtown Vancouver was released back into the wild on Tuesday.

Conservation officers released the bear, estimated to be about 18 months old, in the upper Squamish Valley, about 100 kilometres north of Vancouver.

The bear was shot with a tranquillizer dart by conservation officers on Monday, after the animal was spotted sitting on a garbage truck outside Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

After being tranquillized, the bear was taken to a secure compound in North Vancouver and placed in a culvert trap to recover, before being released.

It was previously thought the bear had been foraging for food in a dumpster when the dumpster contents, including the bear, were tipped into a garbage truck.

However, conservation officers now believe the bear simply hitched a ride in the truck from North Vancouver, where it was doing pickups earlier in the day.