Hibernating Bear Is Rescued in Minnesota After Getting Stuck in Deep Snow and Ice

A bear in Northern Minnesota who got stuck after the spot he chose to hibernate in got flooded with snow and ice was rescued earlier this month.

In a Facebook post, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wrote that they were alerted to the young animal’s unfortunate plight after receiving “caring calls” from the public.

The bear had snuggled down to sleep in a culvert alongside the road near Wannaska, Northern Minnesota.

“Unfortunately, melting snow can sometimes flood bears out of culverts, and that’s what happened here,” DNR wrote. “The culvert started to flood and this bear got stuck in the deep snow and ice.”

(Courtesy of Minnesota DNR)

The DNR reported that people who tried to dig the bear out served him “a smorgasbord of six pop tarts, a head of lettuce, a dead sucker minnow, some Fancy Feast cat food, bird seed, and a Swedish fish.”

“That might work for the Very Hungry Caterpillar in Eric Carle’s book, but it’s no good for bears,” they wrote.

Fortunately, since bears don’t have the desire to eat in the winter, DNR said that the bear didn’t take a bite of anything.

DNR bear biologist Andrew Tri, who examined the bear, estimated him to be around six years old and weighing between 375-400 pounds (170- 181 kg).

Tri pronounced the bear “healthy but groggy—obviously, because he’d been woken up from his winter sleep!”

The department was also keen to stress the importance of not bothering bears if anyone happens to come across one.

“Don’t try to move it or feed it! Doing so can result in a bad situation (either for you or for the bear),” the department wrote.

(Courtesy of Minnesota DNR)

Since his timely rescue, the bear he has been safely relocated to a state game sanctuary where he can continue hibernating.

It isn’t unusual for bears to occasionally hibernate above ground, DNR said. Responding to social media comments wondering why it took them a few days to rescue the bear, the department said: “In an evolving situation like this, we don’t always have all of the details right away. Then, it can take a while to get the proper personnel, gear, and equipment in place. DNR staff care deeply about wildlife and work to respond as quickly as we can in situations like this.”

(Courtesy of Minnesota DNR)

Minnesota is well-known as bear country and there are an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 black bears living in the state. Black bears are by nature not normally aggressive and encountering a bear can be a “positive, memorable experience” experts at the DNR said, but as large, powerful, and fast-moving animals, people need to maintain a healthy respect for them, they advise.

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