Last Sunday Canadian authorities restored a black bear’s dignity by removing a plastic jar from its head. The jar had contained birdseed and the hungry bear had managed to wedge its entire head inside — in the heartwarming manner of Winnie the Pooh.
Around 5:30 a.m., residents of Lively, Ontario reported seeing the bear meandering down the street, bumping into things. According to police:
“Officers attended on scene and were able to locate the bear which was unable to remove the jar from its head. It continued to wander around walking into a variety of objects including a police cruiser.”
Unable to corral the bear, police called the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) who sent Brent MacDonald, a "bear technician." He tranquilized the bear, who by this time was hanging out in some bushes between people's houses.
MacDonald explained to the CBC:
"... I thought perhaps I could twist [the jar] and kind of pull it at the same time and gently pull it off — thinking maybe the bear hadn’t gotten to that stage, maybe it was an immature bear. Bears have life experiences like we do. It wasn’t long after that I did get the barrel in my hands that I realized, 'This thing’s not coming off."
So he took out his Leatherman knife and cut the jar off with the help of a police officer. “And then a few minutes later we pried it off and there was the bear!"
The bear in question was relocated and safely released into the wild once it woke up from its induced snooze.
An estimated 105,000 black bears live throughout Ontario, occasionally giving rise to nuisance or public safety complaints, particularly as they emerge from hibernation in late April and early May. Black bears generally avoid humans but their entire life revolves around food and they’re drawn to areas where people live.
“They will topple bird feeders, ransack barbecues, raid garbage cans and even try to enter buildings,” states the MNR. This year Ontario police can expect to field hundreds of calls over nuisance bears — some of whom will probably have their head stuck in things.
On May 1, the Ontario government will also reinstated a controversial spring bear hunt, which will run "in eight wildlife areas known for having the most public safety incidents involving bears," reports the CBC.