A 6-month-old black bear cub got into a sticky situation Friday when, in what smacked of Winnie the Pooh’s honey jar escapades, he got his head stuck in a jar and had to be rescued from 40 feet up in a tree.
The scene was not the Hundred Acre Woods but Lake Riconda Drive where the 28-pound bruin tested the skills of rescuers as he became wedged in a tree, his head stuck in a large animal-crackers jar that had been tossed out in the trash.
“It was an oversized animal cracker jar. We suspect he got it from a neighbor’s trash container. We did find trash on the ground,” said Larry Ragonese, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
“He was trying to eat what remained in the jar and pulled the jar over his head,” Ragonese continued. “He got spooked and went up into the tree.”
He credited the Ringwood and Wanaque police departments, the Wanaque Fire Department, and two of the DEP Division of Fish & Wildlife Kelcey Burguess (chief biologist and bear team leader) and Joe Burke (bear technician) with rescuing this bear from what could have been a tragedy.
When the call came in of a bear in distress at roughly 6 p.m., Burguess and Burke responded and reached out to Wanaque Fire Department for a bucket truck, which they used to climb up and assist the bruin.
With the help of local police, the state workers arranged netting in case the bear were to fall to the ground. Due to his troubled state, the bear had to be tranquilized, Ragonese said, as Ringwood and Wanaque firefighters gingerly cut the jar off the bear’s head.
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