A heroic man from Glenwood Springs, Colorado, rescued a 2-year-old black bear from a clear plastic Cheese Balls container stuck on its head this week, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reports.
The bear had been seen numerous times five days ago near a pond, but by the time a wildlife official was able to arrive, the bear had fled. So, Jim Hawkins, owner of Four Mile Creek Bed and Breakfast, took matters into his own hands when he spotted the bear again on July 20.
“He was just a little bear with a big problem,” Hawkins told the newspaper. “He was a 2-year-old with a space helmet on.”
Hawkins found the bear and lassoed it around its midsection. After Hawkins wrangled with the bear, which weighed about 100 pounds, it came after him and the two had “a couple of good rolls in the grass.”
Hawkins said about six or seven guests at the bed and breakfast watched the tussle. “It was like a rodeo,” Hawkins said. “They got their money out of it.”
According to the newspaper, when Carbondale District Wildlife Officer John Groves got the call, he immediately went to the scene and tranquilized the bear. They used tin shears to cut the heavy plastic off the bruin’s head, and then Groves applied a reversal drug to rouse it.
Once awake, the bear took a drink and then ambled off, Groves said. He estimated its chances for survival were high.
Hawkins urges people to not leave food containers where bears can access them. It can mean a death sentence for wildlife, he told the newspaper.
“None of us wanted to see him die in the bushes someplace,” Hawkins said.
— The Gazette (@csgazette) July 22, 2016
“Nice work, Mr. Hawkins. Thanks for coming to the rescue! Heal soon, sir!” wrote a Twitter user on Friday.
This isn’t the first time a wild animal got its head stuck in an object. On May 3, in Centereach, N.Y., a deer got its head stuck in a light globe.
Jeff Hull, a state department’s Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO), rescued the deer, in the predicament since the previous night.
Hull removed the lighting fixture, but just as it was for Hawkins, it was a struggle. He got his share of bruises trying to help.
“On his first attempt, the wet globe slipped out of his hands, and the deer ran into a nearby downed tree, causing it to fall,” the department posted on Facebook. “On his second attempt, ECO Hull flung his coat over the globe, bear hugging it with both arms as the deer kicked and struggled to break free. The deer managed to slip out of the globe and ran off into the woods.”