Close Encounters Man vs. Nature

Bucket bear rescued by volunteer group

Rescuers dog-pile on the bear that had been wandering the area with its head stuck in a ‘bucket’ for more than a month, use hacksaw to cut it away

Bucket bear wandered the neighborhood for more than a month before volunteers cut away the unwanted appendage. Photo from Save the Bucket Bear Facebook page

Bucket bear wandered the neighborhood for more than a month before volunteers cut away the unwanted appendage. Photo from Save the Bucket Bear Facebook page

A bear observed with a bucket on its head wandering around the Perry Township, Clarion County, Pennsylvania, for more than a month has finally been rescued, thanks to a group of neighborhood volunteers who corralled the animal on Monday and cut away the unwanted appendage.

Krissy Elder and her friends drew attention to the so-called bucket bear Sunday night by creating a Save the Bucket Bear Facebook page after she visited her father, who lives in the area the bear was wandering

“I watched the bear bounce its head off the fence,” Elder told Pennlive.com. “It just couldn’t see. That poor bear couldn’t see where it was going.”

Dean Hornberger of Sligo, Pennsylvania, and his girlfriend Samantha Eigenbrod saw the Facebook post and immediately made plans to recruit volunteers and make a rescue attempt the next day. Eigenbrod recorded the rescue on her cellphone. MailOnline offered the best compilation of the video (it starts after 30 seconds):

As you can see, Hornberger first attempted to pull off the bucket-like fixture known as a maxi, an air bag that provides cushioning between a tractor and its trailer. Unsuccessful, the volunteer animal rescue group managed to tackle the bear and pin it down in “the biggest mud hole in the area,” according to Hornberger.

“We all sort of dog-piled on top of the bear to get it down,” Hornberger told Pennlive.com.

Using a hacksaw, Hornberger cut through the metal ring around the bear’s neck and enough of the plastic so the “bucket” could be pried open enough for the bear to pull its head out, which it did, and then took off running into the woods.

Hornberger said the bear was able to eat and get some water through a small opening in the maxi, explaining how it survived since there had been reports about the bucket bear as far back as July 4.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission had received several calls about the bucket bear over the past month and a half. Each time officials responded the bear was long gone, and attempts to trap the animal failed.

Instead, it took a group of volunteers to tackle the issue.

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