A juvenile black bear has been released back into the wild after Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources workers removed it from the ceiling of a Pulaski County manufacturing plant using a scissor lift.
NBC12 reports workers at the manufacturing plant were surprised on Friday afternoon when they found a young bear lodged 20-feet-high in the rafters of the building. The plant contacted the DWR and officers decided it was best to immobilize the bear and remove it from the area. Wildlife staff and biologists didn’t think the bear would safely leave on its own, putting the bear and plant workers at risk:
“In this particular situation, the bear was given time to leave, but because of the large number of plant employees on site during the work day, the interruption to plant operations, and potential safety risk to both the bear and humans, DWR determined that safe removal was the best course of action.”
A DWR biologist was lifted into the air and darted the bear with a tranquilizer and then removed the bear using the extended scissor lift. They did a quick wellbeing check on the sedated bear and then then loaded into a carrier and transported to a suitable site for release.
Hats off the folks involved for a successful capture and release. Hopefully moving forward this bear will stick to climbing trees so they don’t have to bust out the tranq gun and cherry picker again.
Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Statement:
In the early afternoon of June 4, DWR staff from the Wildlife and Law Enforcement divisions were notified of a young bear that had made its way into a large manufacturing plant in Pulaski County and lodged itself about 20 feet off the floor into the rafters of the building. DWR staff from both divisions responded to the scene. After assessing the situation, it was apparent to staff that given the location of the bear, odds were low that it would soon safely leave on its own. Considering the plant’s production needs, the decided that the best course of action would be to immobilize the bear and remove it from the area.
With the aid of the plant’s lift equipment operators and safety staff, a DWR biologist was lifted into position to safely administer a chemical immobilization dart. With some quick and effective operation of a forklift and platform, the immobilized bear was safely lowered from its perch. A physical health check was performed on the bear, which was then loaded into a carrier and transported to a suitable site for release. With the great teamwork between DWR Wildlife and Law Enforcement staffs and on-site staff, this operation was conducted safely and effectively for both bear and humans.
DWR would like to emphasize that the first and typical option in most scenarios involving a bear that is treed or has entered a confined space is to ensure the bear has a good escape route and to remove people or pets (if present) a far distance from the animal. Given ample time, once the bear doesn’t feel scared or threatened, it will feel comfortable enough to leave on its own. In this particular situation, the bear was given time to leave, but because of the large number of plant employees on site during the work day, the interruption to plant operations, and potential safety risk to both the bear and humans, DWR determined that safe removal was the best course of action.