A bear that wandered for days with a jug stuck on its head has been rescued and North Carolina wildlife officials are crediting the community for helping the creature be freed of its unfortunate situation.
Callers in the Asheville area began reporting the cub late Monday and said it had “a clear container stuck on her head,” according to a news release from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
The bear was at risk of dehydration or starvation, with no easy way to eat or drink.
District biologist Justin McVey spent two days searching for it.
“Thanks to direct calls to our biologists and messages in response to our agency’s NextDoor post, Asheville residents led us directly to the cub,” McVey said in the news release.
“We were able to safely dart and anesthetize the bear, remove the jug from her head and perform a health check,” he said. “She was in great health, with no injuries or lacerations, and immediately relocated to a remote area in western North Carolina.”
He described the cub as “feisty and ready to go” when it woke up.
“The outcome could have been much different if the people of Asheville hadn’t worked directly with the wildlife commission to locate the bear,” the news release said.
The jug likely got stuck on the bear when it was rummaging for food in trash, officials said.
Fall is when bears are driven to eat “ten times the calories they normally consume,” so they can put on fat for the winter, according Bearwise.org.
Black bears can smell a morsel of food from more than a mile away, experts say.
While the state is lauding the community for helping to save the cub, it also warns the public should not try to help “an inured bear” or cubs that appear to be orphaned.
“Don’t approach the bear. Instead leave it alone, note the location, and contact your local Wildlife Commission District Biologist or call the NC Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401,” the state says.