Monday, August 16, 2010

Bear Cub Trapped By Trash: a happy ending but not the first time

Perhaps you have seen or read about the recent story reported in several press outlets via the Associated Press about the Florida bear cub with the plastic jar stuck on its head.

For 10 days, the cub was reported to have had the jar stuck on its head, obviously preventing the animal from eating or drinking. Ultimately, the decision was made to tranquilize the mother bear cub that was always nearby, allowing wildlife officials to rush in and restrain the young bear so as to remove the jar. Once accomplished, the freed bear along with its mother and one other sibling, were rounded up and relocated to an area further into the woods.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened. As recently as July,
a young black bear, having foraged in an Ontario, Canada land fill, found itself trapped - able to breath but not eat for 2 weeks. Looking emaciated, the bear wandered the local woodland and suburban area near Thunder Bay, while wildlife conservation officials pondered the best way to deal with the situation. Ultimately, the bear was able to free itself.

While the freed bears are, of course, a happy ending to what would have been a silly and tragic waste of animal life, the picture of the Florida cub and the Ontario bear atop an open land fill are disturbing. One must ponder the question of how best to restrict animal access to such an odor-tempting pile of garbage, while wondering what other toxic or life-threatening hazards are offered by such an open tribute to man's consume-then-discard technology.

Read brief AP article on the Florida bear's release.
Watch video of the Canadian bear in the Vancouver Sun.

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