Monday, June 24, 2024

Sedated bear falls 15 meters after ‘rescue’ goes awry

A 2-year-old bear is resting and awaiting medical treatment after it fell over 15 meters from a tree when members of the Coahuila Environment Ministry (SMA) tried to capture it on Tuesday.

The same bear had been seen twice previously near the Lomas de Lourdes neighborhood in southern Saltillo before being captured on June 10 and set free in the Sierra of Zapalinamé, a protected mountain range to the south of the city.

Around midday Tuesday, a local couple living, ironically, on Calle Retorno de los Osos (Street of the Bears), saw a young bear come into their yard and start climbing trees. So they called the SMA to come and rescue it.

Upon arriving at the scene, the state workers discussed letting the animal come down in its own time at night, but one ministry employee instead shot the bear with a sedative dart. The SMA team had not set up a net to catch the animal and within only about three minutes the sedative took effect and the animal fell to the ground, narrowly missing a concrete wall. Team members said they were not expecting the sedative to act so fast in the young bear’s system.

“It fell on the ground, no problem, it’s doing well. In the wild they fall like that, but we’ll check it anyway,” Environment Minister Jorge Guerrero said.

The couple who reported the bear commented that they called the SMA thinking that they had experience in this type of rescue and were dismayed that the government workers allowed the bear to fall from such a height with no safety net below it.

After its fall, the bear was transferred to a state facility where a veterinarian recommended that it rest and that its caregivers keep it hydrated. The SMA released a video Friday morning of the bear moving around on its own and eating inside a cage. The bear is scheduled to receive further medical attention Friday afternoon as well as X-rays to see if it has suffered any internal injuries.

With reports from Vanguardia and Milenio

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