FWC helps black bear found with plastic container on its head

Florida black bear found with plastic container on her head. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – A female black bear that had a plastic container stuck on her head for 28 days was freed with the help of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

After the bear was seen wandering around a Southwest Florida neighborhood, FWC bear biologists, law enforcement, and bear contractors set traps and monitored the area in an effort to remove the container, but after only two sightings, the bear was not seen again for over three weeks.

FWC said the bear was finally spotted on a resident’s security camera so staff set new traps and started night patrols of the neighborhood. They finally spotted the 250-pound bear just before midnight and the bear biologist darted her and removed the plastic container from around her face.

“We think it was part of an automatic pet feeder due to the hole near the bear’s muzzle. Luckily that hole provided enough access to drink and eat. Even after 28 days of wearing it, the bear was still in great physical shape,” FWC wrote in a Facebook post. “She did have a wound encircling her neck and face where the feeder was stuck, but staff cleaned the injury and treated her with antibiotics.”

Florida black bear after it was freed from a plastic container. (FWC)

After a day and a half of monitoring to make sure she was healthy and able to eat and drink normally, the bear was released by staff in a secure area of Picayune Strand State Forest, FWC said.

Check out MyFWC.com to learn more on how to reduce human-bear conflicts.