WEIRSDALE, Fla. - Biologists took ten days to capture a black bear cub near Ocala that they estimated was only days away from death after it managed to get its head stuck in a jar.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with the help of some residents, worked together to corral the cub, its mother and siblings.
The bears were regular visitors to the unsecured garbage containers near the Weirsdale community in the Ocala National Forest. The 6-month-old cub managed to get its head stuck in a clear plastic jar, which prevented the cub from drinking or eating.
The FWC biologists affectionately nicknamed the cub "Jar Head" but knew if they did not make a successful rescue the cub, it would not survive. They had to trap the cub in order to help it.
FWC biologist Mike Orlando knew the task would be tough. “It was a lot easier said than done,” Orlando said. “The residents were really great about calling us when they saw the bears, but it seemed like we were always about 20 minutes behind,” he said.
The group placed the traps but the wise mother bear wasn't easily tricked. Eight days of sightings were followed with two days when no one saw the bear family.
A resident in the area called the FWC dispatcher who sent the biologist team back in after a new sighting. The team managed to tranquilize the mother bear but catching "Jar Head" was another challenge. Two members of the team were able to grab the cub and remove the large plastic jug from its head.
Residents assisted in getting the mother bear into the trap and the cubs followed. After she revived and was able to nurse the cubs, the group was moved to a less populated area nearby.
At last word, the FWC had not received any more reports about the bear family.
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