COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – A video shows rescuers released a Florida black bear from a plastic container believed to have been stuck on its head for weeks, and they say it’s a good reminder to keep attractants locked up to avoid bear encounters.
The 250-pound female bear was first spotted in the Golden Gates Estates community in Naples. Bear biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, law enforcement and bear contractors tried to trap the bear and remove the container, but the bear was not seen again after the initial sightings for over three weeks.
After the bear made an appearance on a resident’s security camera, staff set new traps and were able to tranquilize the bear and remove the container.
Rescuers believe the container was part of an automatic pet feeder. A hole near the bear’s muzzle was large enough to allow the bear access to food and water while the bear’s head was stuck.
Biologists say the bear was still in great shape, aside from a wound encircling its neck and face from where the feeder was stuck. After a period of monitoring to make sure the bear was OK, it was released by staff into Picayune Strand State Forest in Collier County.
FWC officials said the rescue is a good example of why it’s important to practice “BearWise Basics”:
- Never feed bears
- Secure food, garbage and recycling
- If bears are active in your area, put away any animal feeders, including bird feeders and pet feeders
- Clean and store grills
- Make sure to let neighbors know if you see evidence of bear activity
To learn more about the BearWise program, head to the FWC website.
If you see a sick, injured or dead black bear, contact FWC’s Wildlife Alert number at 1-888-404-3922.