It isn’t every day that a garbage truck gets the chance to drop off something other than trash, especially when that something is a live bear.
On Sept. 30, a County Waste vehicle in Pennsylvania pulled into the police station with a special delivery: a large black bear that had somehow managed to ride atop the truck for miles before it was noticed.
The Kidder Township Police posted pictures of the hitchhiker on social media, writing, “Bear Complaint this morning. He managed to come right to the police station on the garbage truck …”
After the truck backed up against a tree, the bear was able to climb down and make its way to safety.
Officer Vincent Murrow with the Kidder Township Police guessed that the bear had tired of the limited amount of trash available in residents’ cans and decided to go for “the big prize.”
As humorous a sight as this was, Officer Murrow says bear sightings are an increasing occurrence in the area.
“It’s been pretty frequent,” he said. “Almost daily that we’re getting a new bear complaint.”
According to Katherine Uhler of the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, this is because hibernation season is approaching, so bears are searching for food before winter hits.
“Each bear is eating about 20,000 calories a day, which is about 10 times more than you or I eat. So they are moving around a lot, and they are very hungry,” Uhler said.
She says that due to the pandemic, people are more likely to notice bears now than in previous years.
“Part of it is because of Covid. People are outside a lot, and that moves bears around, so there are a lot of bear sightings,” she said.
Meanwhile, the police department’s Facebook page blew up with comments.
“What a wise guy,” read one comment. “Cops a free ride … did this bear at least tip the driver?”
Commenters weren’t above bear puns, either. “Looks like he ‘bearly’ held on for the ride,” one person joked.
Others expressed gratitude for the County Waste employees’ quick thinking.
“A good deed always warms my heart,” said another. “Especially where our animal friends are concerned. Big Kudos to the sanitation folks who took him to the police station & Kudos to the officers who knew just what to do!”
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