Colorado rangers removed a chicken-feed bucket from around a tranquilized bear’s neck after it had been trapped in it for over a week.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Headquarters shared the footage on social media, adding that the skinny bear had its head stuck in the chicken feeder for at least one week and was probably unable to eat in that time.
The female bear was first seen with a 10-lb. hanging chicken feeder on its neck on July 6 at the foothills near the city of Boulder, and reported to CPW by a caller. Wildlife officials began searching for the bear shortly after in order the remove the bucket.
The CPW first shared a photo of the bear with the feeder around its head while it was standing on a balcony fence on July 8. They put out a notice on Twitter for anyone who spotted the bear to call CPW.
“That bucket had been on its head for at least one week before wildlife officers were able to free her of it,” CPW officials confirmed on July 14.
CPW officer Sam Peterson found the bear climbing a tree and tranquilized it to safely remove the chicken feeder, according to CPW social media posts from the rescue.
The CPW added that the skinny bear might even have been in the bucket-like feeder for longer than they had seen.
“The bear was a little thin for a yearling at this time of year, but otherwise in good body condition when released,” Jason Clay, a CPW spokesperson said.
In order to wake it up from the tranquilizer, the rangers had to shout. When this did the trick, it bolted off into the woods.
“Bears will work hard to get the calories they need, and can easily damage property, vehicles, and homes,” CPW said. “Bears that become aggressive in their pursuit of an easy meal must often be destroyed.”
They also said that residents should “be responsible” with their domestic waste and bird feeders, recommending that people only use feeders when bears hibernate.
Research from the University of Colorado Boulder Center for Sustainable Landscape and Communities found that American black bears have been expanding eastward through the city of Boulder since at least 2015, driven by the increasing availability of food from residential trash and compost containers.
CPW’s resources on “Living with Bears” explain that a bear’s natural drive to eat can overcome its wariness of humans, especially when the savvy creatures learn where it’s easy to get something to eat.
A fawn was found trapped in a similar chicken feeder in November 2020, CPW said, and rangers had to cut it free.
(Edited by Stella Grace Lorence and Kristen Butler)
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