Group tried to feed trapped bear Pop-Tarts and cat food

Minnesota has urged people to let sleeping bears lie after some well-meaning onlookers tried to feed it candy. A black bear was spotted hibernating in a culvert alongside the road near Wannaska, a township about 25 miles south of the Canadian border, for three days.

After a group feared the sleeping beast was stuck, they tried to dig it out of the snow.

While the bear was in fact trapped, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has bashed the “smorgasbord” of sweets and cat food left for the animal-in-distress.

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

“Thanks to your caring calls, we were able to get this bear out quickly.”

“Our bear biologist, Andrew Tri, examined the bear and pronounced him healthy but groggy—obviously, because he’d been woken up from his winter sleep”, the group added.

“Looks like the bear is about 6 years old and 375-400 pounds (and yes, he’s a boy). We safely relocated him to a state game sanctuary so that he can continue hibernating.

“Just a reminder: If you happen upon a bear—either at your house or in the wild—please don’t bother it!

“In this case, some well-meaning folks tried to dig out the bear. They also served him up 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.

“Luckily, because bears don’t have the desire to eat in the winter, the bear didn’t bite.”

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However, according to KVLY-TV, numerous callers reported the distressed animal before a DNR crew came to its rescue.

The state group came under fire for the delay, and after one of its staffers told a concerned caller that “nature should take its course.”

“Quite a few folks have commented about the fact that, when contacted about this bear, one of our staff members suggested nature should take its course”, the DNR said on Facebook.

“We know that sounds unfeeling, but it’s typically better for animals (and humans) when we allow that to happen.”

They also added: “Typically bears would be able to escape a wet culvert on their own, but this was not a typical case.”

The agency then claimed its staff did not have all the details, “proper personnel, gear, and equipment in place” to make the rescue earlier.


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State bear biologist Andrew Tri told Inforum: “It took about five guys to haul him up and out of the hole once we dug him out.

“We just had to free his leg out of the hole of the culvert. He clearly smelled like runoff — stinky, stagnant water — but generally speaking, I don’t think he was totally frozen in.

“I think he just got caught up in some of that thick ice where he pushed out and just hooked himself goofy.”

According to the DNR, bears hibernate in their dens during winter, for as long as six or seven months, living off their stored body fat.

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