It Took Two Months To Free Juggles

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A curious bear cub got his head stuck in a plastic jug. It took two months to free Juggles.

Abear cub got a little too interested in a pet food feeder and got its head stuck inside the plastic container – where it stayed for nearly two months – until Tennessee wildlife workers freed it.

The curious cub is recuperating at Appalachian Bear Rescue.

A resident near Chilhowee Lake first reported the cub’s predicament on Aug. 14, after spotting a sow bear and four cubs on her porch, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. WRA Black Bear Support Biologist Janelle Musser responded and promptly began trying to catch the bear.



Musser was able to lure the cub into a trap, but it was unable to trigger it with its mouth because of the container stuck on its head, the agency said. She moved the trap each time a new sighting was reported, even trying a different-style trap with a foot-plate trigger, but the mother became trap shy and the efforts were unsuccessful.

On Oct. 3, a resident reported the cub was in a tree and Musser was able to dart the animal.

“Darting bears in trees is not standard practice and is only done in an emergency,” Musser said. “This cub would not be able to continue surviving like this.”

Musser removed the container from the cub’s head.




Despite the long entrapment, the cub did not have any abrasions from the container and was in relatively good shape other than his ears being mashed down, Musser said, adding the capture would not have been possible without help from the community reporting sightings and allowing traps on their properties.

Bear cub now recuperating at Appalachian Bear Rescue
The bear cub, which has been named Juggles by Appalachian Bear Rescue, is recuperating from its ordeal at the rehabilitation center in Townsend, Tennessee. The rescue group takes in orphaned and injured black bear cubs with the goal of releasing them back to the wild as soon as possible.

Rescue group staff took Juggles to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine for a medical check, and the staff cleaned and treated his ears and removed a large number of ticks. Juggles was found to have a urinary tract infection, likely the result of too little fluid intake, and was placed on antibiotics.

“Juggles Bear is resting well in Hartley House,” Appalachian Bear Rescue staff wrote. “He’s eating well, taking his meds and sleeping on his bed.”



Bears stage a fall eat-a-thon, wildlife agency says
This is not the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last, Tennessee wildlife officials warned. This time of year, bears are bulking up for winter; by fall, they are foraging up to 20 hours a day in a race against the clock.

During this annual power-eating marathon, bears need to eat 10 times the calories they normally consume – that’s at least 20,000 calories a day. The wildlife agency says just one bird feeder full of black oil sunflower seed or one garbage container overflowing with leftovers can reward a bear with a day’s worth of calories for less than an hour’s work.

This makes attractions like garbage, bird seed and pet food extremely alluring to bears. In this case, an automatic pet food feeder left out for dogs or cats was the culprit that ensnared the bear cub.

Tips for getting BearWise
Residents in bear country can discourage bears from frequenting their property for food with these BearWise tips:

  • Secure food, garbage and recycling. Garbage and recycling should be stored in a bear-resistant container or inside a bear-resistant building.
  • Remove bird feeders when bears are active; this includes sugar water feeders.
  • Never leave pet food outside. If you must feed pets outside, feed in single portions and remove bowls afterwards. Store pet food where bears can’t see or smell it.
  • Clean and store grills and smokers.

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Posted in Animals, Blog, Events, Food & Diet, Health, Nature, News, Science.

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