Press release from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission:
A staff member with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission successfully removed a plastic garbage can lid from around the neck of a female bear this morning in Asheville.
The agency received a report from its NC Wildlife Helpline on Thursday evening about the distressed bear. After evaluating the welfare of the bear and location of the situation, staff set traps on Friday to try and humanely capture the bear. Traps are the best first option in a populated setting, as using a dart to anesthetize a bear may result in the animal running away or climbing a tree, which could create a welfare issue for the bear.
After two days and nights of around-the-clock monitoring and unsuccessful trapping, a Wildlife Commission biologist saw the bear calm and near unoccupied houses, with no people or other animals around. Staff determined, although not without risk, it was the best opportunity available to safely anesthetize the bear and remove the lid. Once fully anesthetized, it took less than two minutes to remove the lid, confirm no other signs of injury and wake the bear up. The bear fully recovered, and staff left the scene once bear and cubs were reunited.
Thank you to everyone who showed care and compassion for this bear and allowed us time and space to safely remove the lid from her head without posing a risk to the bear, her cubs or the public. Staying BearWise helps to avoid these situations puts us in the best position to coexist with bears.