Black bear rescued after becoming trapped in frozen culvert

Black bear rescued after becoming trapped in frozen culvert

Sometimes animals get stuck in some pretty tricky spots, and need a little human help getting free.

Like one black bear, who accidentally became trapped in a culvert while trying to hibernate, requiring a rescue team to come set him free.

The bear, who is a 6-year-old male weighing between 375 and 400 pounds, had spotted a culvert in Wannaska, Minnesota, and saw it as a good place to hibernate for the winter. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, it’s not unusual for bears to hibernate above ground.

Unfortunately, the culvert flooded with melting snow, and the bear became trapped in snow and ice.

“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,” Andy Tri, project leader for the DNR, told Inforum.

Responding to calls from the public to help the bear, four members of the Minnesota DNR went out to save him. According to Valley News Live, they knocked out the bear by injecting him with anesthetic.

According to Inforum, it took the rescuers 20 minutes to get the bear out. They used a rope with “paw cuffs” to pull him out of the snow. “He went right down in 10 minutes, and it took about five guys to haul him up and out of the hole once we dug him out. We just had to free his leg out of the hole of the culvert,” Tri said.

According to the DNR’s Facebook post, the bear was healthy and unharmed, but was reportedly “groggy” due to being woken up from his winter hibernation.

The rescuers relocated the bear to a state game sanctuary, where he will continue hibernating.

The story has prompted some debate online about whether humans should have intervened in this case or just let nature take its course, but the DNR said they made their decision carefully to save the bear from distress.

They also emphasized that situations like this should be handled by professionals, writing that well-intentioned bystanders tried to pull the bear out on their own, and offered snacks like Pop-Tarts, cat food and Swedish Fish, which wouldn’t have been good for the bear. (Bears don’t have much of an appetite in the winter, however, so he didn’t take the snacks.)

“If you’re ever concerned about a bear’s safety by all means give us a call. 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),” the DNR wrote on Facebook.

Thank you for rescuing this trapped black bear! We’re sure he’ll be able to sleep soundly now after being saved.

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