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Low-tech/No-tech: Bear gets jar stuck on head, shot

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DISCLAIMER: This story has nothing to do with gadgets or technology.

A wild bear in Minnesota got a jar stuck on his head, wandered fifty miles over six days through the forest, and then finally stumbled out in to the middle of Frazee – about 10 minutes from where my family’s cabin is located — during the city’s annual “Turkey Days” celebration. You’ve surely all heard of Turkey Days? Fearing the bear might get hit by a car or knock over a child, officials decided to shoot it.

The men had thought to tranquilize the bear a day earlier, but they couldn’t find a dart gun in time, saying “We attempted to locate a dart gun to tranquilize it, but it left the park. It was on the move.”

They also tried to capture the bear in a steel trap so that they could remove the jar and release the animal alive. A DNR official said that the bear was unable to eat or drink, although it could breathe. It was likely dehydrated and really, really hungry.

According to The St. Paul Pioneer Press, the DNR official “said the chances of a bear getting stuck in a jar are ‘very rare.’” I can’t tell if this is funny, sad, or both. I’m pretty sure it’s 90% sad, though. A bear with a jar on its head? Kinda funny. Shooting an animal dead because you couldn’t find a tranquilizer gun? Not really my kind of humor.

UPDATE: A few hours after this post was published here, a follow-up article was published to The St. Paul Pioneer Press in which the DNR officials explained why they didn’t tranquilize the animal. Apparently DNR officers aren’t issued tranquilizer guns “because they are rarely needed, they require special training and the powerful sedative drugs are highly regulated” – the drug in question that would have been used to tranquilize the bear, Ketamine, is often abused (it’s known as Special K) as a hallucinogen, so “only veterinarians and a few DNR biologists are licensed to keep it.”

Conservation officer Chris Vinton examined the bear after it had been shot and said "Its hips were sticking out, its gums were white from dehydration. I don’t know if its body could have handled being tranquilized."

Full follow-up here: http://www.twincities.com/ci_10045502

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