Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, Adam Guy/AP
A wild black bear whose head got stuck inside a 2-gallon clear plastic jug is seen in a
July 22, 2008 photo in Minnesota. 

Minnesota Bear Killed with Head Stuck in Jar

July 31, 2008 12:09 PM
by Liz Colville
Police shot the bear in Frazee, Minn., to avoid any harm to humans during a local weekend festival.

30-Second Summary

The young male bruin had been wandering around the Frazee area prior to and during the town’s weekend Turkey Days celebration, spending six days with the large plastic jar stuck on its head before police decided to shoot it. They did not have a tranquilizer gun available at the time, despite having been tracking the bear for days.

The police were criticized for killing the bear, receiving “dozens” of e-mails and phone calls from area citizens. By July 30 the bear was weakened by malnourishment; many believed it hadn’t really been a threat to humans.

But the town was “bustling” with visitors during its annual Turkey Days festival. A wildlife supervisor at Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources told the Tribune, “With all the people around … you’re never sure what the outcome is going to be.”

Throughout the previous days, the bear was never in a prime location to be trapped or tranquilized. Proximate to a lot of people, the bear was too dangerous to be approached to try to remove the jar, police said.

The bear was killed behind the coincidentally named Baer Building, a site of the celebration where many people were gathered.

Naplin told the Tribune that it is “very rare” for bears to get stuck in jars. But it also tends to be fatal. A Pennsylvania bear drowned in 2004 after getting a jar stuck on its head and evading game officials trying to help it.

Jon P. Beckmann, who co-authored a 2003 study on California black bears’ lifestyles, told the Los Angeles Times that bears tend to thrive on human garbage because it is “reliable.”

Headline Links: Hungry bear killed in Frazee, Minn.

Background: Frazee’s Turkey Days; bears and human garbage

Related Topic: Jars rare but dangerous trap for animals


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