Animals can get stuck in some tricky places and require human assistance to get out.
One black bear, for example, became trapped in a culvert while attempting to hibernate, necessitating the arrival of a rescue team to free him.
The bear, a 6-year-old male weighing between 375 and 400 pounds, spotted a culvert in Wannaska, Minnesota, and decided it would be a good place to hibernate for the winter. It is not uncommon for bears to hibernate above ground, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Unfortunately, the culvert was flooded by melting snow, trapping the bear 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 public calls for assistance, four members of the Minnesota DNR went out to save the bear. They knocked out the bear by injecting him with anesthetic, according to Valley News Live.
According to Inforum, the rescuers had to wait 20 minutes to get the bear out. They used a rope with “paw cuffs” to drag 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 get his leg out of the culvert hole,” Tri explained.
The bear was healthy and unharmed, according to the DNR’s Facebook post, but was reportedly “groggy” after being woken up from his winter hibernation.
The bear was relocated to a state game sanctuary, where he will continue to hibernate.
The story has sparked some online debate about whether humans should have intervened in this case or simply let nature take its course, but the DNR stated that they made their decision carefully in order to save the bear from distress.
They also emphasized that situations like this should be handled by professionals, writing that well-meaning bystanders attempted to pull the bear out on their own and offered unhealthy snacks like Pop-Tarts, cat food, and Swedish Fish. (Because bears don’t have much of an appetite in the winter, he didn’t eat the snacks.)
“Please contact us if you are ever concerned about the safety of a bear. However, do not attempt to move or feed it! This can lead to a bad situation (for you or the bear),” the DNR wrote on Facebook.
Thank you so much for rescuing this stranded black bear! We’re confident that now that he’s been saved, he’ll be able to sleep soundly.
Please spread the word about this wonderful news!