A young black bear separated from its mother was rescued by Maryland DNR staffers after having its head trapped in a jar for three days.
Spectators attending the annual Autumn Glory Festival in Garrett County last weekend saw more than fall foliage and art shows. Onlookers saw the end of a three-day pursuit by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Wildlife and Heritage Service, with help from the Maryland Natural Resources Police, to safely capture a young black bear with its head stuck in a plastic jar.
The DNR said in a news release Monday that its officers tranquilized the 100-pound male bear cub so the could remove the plastic. The rescued cub, affectionately known as “Buckethead” by wildlife agents, was freed near the Wisp Resort in McHenry during the festival.
“The crowd was very happy to see the cub safely handled and reunited with the sow and another cub,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said in a statement. “Our response staff did an outstanding job dealing with this very public situation, and handled it in a most professional and responsible manner.”
After the plastic jar was removed, the healthy cub returned to the woods to reunite with its sow.
Black bears are beginning to binge-eat as they store up for winter, and that could bring them closer to people than normal, the DNR warned last week. Residents and visitors should remember that black bears are beginning a period of increased feeding activity in preparation for winter hibernation or torpor. Black bears in Maryland are concentrated in Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties.
During this time, bears may become more attracted to human-provided food sources and lose their natural fear of people, which can lead to potentially dangerous encounters.
“Keeping bird feeders, pet food and trash in a place where bears can’t get to them is the best way to avoid interactions,” Peditto said in a news release. “Marylanders should delay filling songbird feeders until the winter to avoid attracting these mammals.”
Maryland highways also pose a hazard as bears roam the state in the summer. About 55 bears are killed on state roads each year, Maryland Natural Resources Police told WBAL.
Typically, Maryland’s black bear population is concentrated in Washington, Allegany, Frederick and Garrett counties, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Most bears are about 125 to 400 pounds and stay within a 10 to 25-mile radius of where they live.
Sightings in populated areas are most common in June and July, when young bears wander away from rural areas as they look to establish their territory during the late spring through summer months.
After a period of wandering, young bears usually settle in places with established bear populations in western Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. They typically make dens in wooded areas.