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Published: Thursday, 7/31/2008

Minnesota wildlife officials fail in bid to save bear with jug on its head

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A wild black bear whose head got stuck inside a clear plastic jug was killed by wildlife officials when it wandered into a city. A wild black bear whose head got stuck inside a clear plastic jug was killed by wildlife officials when it wandered into a city.
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ST. PAUL - Minnesota wildlife officials tried for six days to capture a bear that had a plastic jug stuck over its head, but ended up killing the animal after it wandered into a city during a festival.

The wild black bear - whose head got stuck inside a 2 1/2-gallon clear plastic jug presumably while foraging for food - ambled into the city of Frazee, Minn., about 200 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, during the Turkey Days celebration.

"When it got into town, our main concern was public safety," said Rob Naplin, the Department of Natural Resources' area wildlife supervisor in Park Rapids.

The bear was first reported near the town of Lake George, Minn., about 60 miles east of Frazee, on July 21.

While the bear could breathe, it couldn't eat or drink and was likely suffering from dehydration and hunger.

"I'm sure there was high anxiety and frustration with its predicament," Mr. Naplin said. He added there was no evidence the bear was baited by hunters.

The legal baiting season doesn't open until Aug. 15. Bear season opens Sept. 1.

In the six days that followed the initial sighting of the bear, officials tried to trap it or tranquilize it in numerous locations, but to no avail.

By the time the animal showed up in Frazee, conservation officers decided it needed to be killed to avoid conflicts with humans.

"You don't want it knocking over a kid or getting hit by a car," Mr. Naplin said. "Showing up in Frazee escalated the urgency of dispatching it."



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