Talk about a rude awakening!
While considering cozy places to hibernate in this winter, a 6-year-old black bear picked out a storm culvert near Wannaska, Minnesota. Unfortunately for the bear, this decision didn’t pan out well.
In late February, the snow around him started melting, causing the culvert to flood and then freeze again. The poor fellow was trapped in snow and ice for three days before some kind humans noticed and called authorities for help.
By the time experts from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources arrived, people had already tried digging the bear out and luring him with a variety of unhealthy (for bears) treats. Luckily, the bear wasn’t interested in food because he was still in hibernation mode.
Wildlife research biologist Andrew Tri arrived on the scene with a Roseau County deputy to assess the situation.
“He tried to push himself out and kind of got wedged on some frozen water that had frozen and thawed, frozen and thawed and got stuck in place and tired,” the biologist explained.
The team used a syringe pole to inject the bear with an anesthetic. Once he was asleep, it took five strong men to pull the bear, estimated to weigh between 375 and 400 pounds, out of the culvert. Andrew gave him a full check-up and determined he was in great physical shape, even though he was still a bit sleepy!
The crew put him in “paw cuffs” while they pulled him out and looked him over, then transported him to the Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area in Marshall County to finish out the winter.
“He’s in the back of a pickup truck now, and we’ll make him a new den,” said Andrew. “He probably won’t stay, but at least it will give him some protection from the elements after that.”
In a Facebook post, the department of natural resources shared the story along with photos of the bear rescue. They summed up with a reminder to the public to never “bother” a bear, either in the wild or near their homes.
“If you’re ever concerned about a bear’s safety by all means give us a call,” they advised. But don’t try to move it or feed it! Doing so can result in a bad situation (either for you or for the bear).”
Of all the places to settle down for a long winter’s nap! We were “today years old” when we learned bears sometimes hibernate above ground, but we’re glad this guy got the help he needed.
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