Tennessee black bear rescued from starvation, suffocation
Jul 22, 2011
Wildlife officials in Tennessee recently tranquilized a black bear roaming the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in order to remove a plastic jar that had been stuck on its head for at least three weeks, the Washington Post reports.
Shelley Hammonds, a state wildlife officer and registered nurse, said she had wanted to help the bear since she first heard about it in late June, according to The Star. While officers looked for the bear for three weeks, temperatures rose into the 80s.
"I honestly don't know how any creature on Earth could live through that kind of heat and dehydration, surviving on its own breath," Hammonds told the news source. "When you see an animal with such an incredible will to survive, you really want to help it."
Hammonds said the animal had lost almost half its weight, and probably only survived dehydration by lowering its head under water and filling the jug. It likely got stuck in the jar while foraging in garbage. After shooting the bear with a tranquilizer dart, Hammonds hooked it up to an intravenous drip. Once treated, it was released into the Cherokee National Forest.