KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A bear cub is recovering after getting a plastic pet feeder stuck on its head. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency urges the public to be BearWise to prevent similar incidents in the future.
On August 14, the TWRA received reports about a sow bear and four cubs on a resident’s porch near Chilhowee Lake. One of the cubs had a container stuck on its head, and TWRA Black Bear Support Biologist Janelle Musser responded and began trapping efforts.
According to the TWRA. Musser was able to lure the cub into a trap, but the cub couldn’t trigger it due to the container on its head. She continued trying to trap it by moving the trap with each new sighting and changing the style of the trap. However, TWRA said the mother “became trap-shy and became difficult to pattern.”
On Tuesday, Oct. 3, the cub was found in a tree and Musser was able to hit the cub with a dart and remove the container.
“Darting bears in trees is not standard practice and is only done in an emergency. This cub would not be able to continue surviving like this,” said Musser.
According to Appalachian Bear Rescue, the jug was open on both ends, which meant the cub was able to get some food and just enough water to survive. The cub, named Juggles, is currently recovering at ABR in Townsend and is in good shape, other than its ears being mashed down to its head.
“The capture of this bear cub would not have been possible without help from the community reporting sightings, allowing traps on their properties, and being an extra set of eyes, ears, and hands,” wrote the TWRA.
Pet food is one of the main attractants that bring bears into people’s yards, near their homes, and on their porches. In this case, an automatic pet food feeder was left out and it attracted the bear cub. TWRA said the cub could have died without intervention and that people should follow BearWise practices to prevent similar incidents in the future.