By WLOS Staff
ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — A mother bear with a plastic lid stuck around her neck has been freed.
An agent from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission tranquilized the bear Sunday to remove the lid after trying to set traps to capture the bear for two days.
Jody Williams, with the group Help Asheville Bears, claims the commission could have acted much more quickly.
“They are unmanned and underfunded, but when you are given help you should accept it,” Williams said. “They could have been praised as heroes instead of getting all the community outrage and bad publicity.”
N.C. wildlife agents responded, in part, by saying, “traps are the best first option in a populated setting, as using a dart to anesthetize a bear may result in the animal running away or climbing a tree, which could create a welfare issue for the bear.”
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission full statement: A staff member with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission successfully removed a lid from a female bear this morning in Asheville. The agency received a report from its NC Wildlife Helpline on Thursday evening about the distressed bear. After evaluating the welfare of the bear and location of the situation, staff set traps on Friday to try and humanely capture the bear. Traps are the best first option in a populated setting, as using a dart to anesthetize a bear may result in the animal running away or climbing a tree, which could create a welfare issue for the bear.
After two days and nights of around-the-clock monitoring and unsuccessful trapping, a Wildlife Commission biologist saw the bear calm and near unoccupied houses, with no people or other animals around. Staff determined, although not without risk, it was the best opportunity available to safely anesthetize the bear and remove the lid. Once fully anesthetized, it took less than two minutes to remove the lid, confirm no other signs of injury and wake the bear up. The bear fully recovered, and staff left the scene once bear and cubs were reunited.
Thank you to everyone who showed care and compassion for this bear and allowed us time and space to safely remove the lid from her head without posing a risk to the bear, her cubs or the public. Staying BearWise(bearwise.org) helps to avoid these situations puts us in the best position to coexist with bears.
Picture: Female black bear peacefully free of a lid around her neck right before waking up to reunite with her cubs. The lid prevented her from grooming, but bear life should resume as normal now that she is free of the lid.
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