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2010-07-22 at 6:00 PM

Jar removed

By Jamie Smith,
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A jar discovered with bear fur inside near Lambert Island Thursday morning matches one seen stuck on the head of a black bear in a photograph taken Tuesday.

Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officer Ross Johnston said the jar was found by a canoeist less than a kilometre away from the bear’s last known location.

Johnston said either the bear freed himself from the jar or met an unfortunate end when he jumped into the lake and the jar filled with water.

"He may be at the bottom of Lake Superior or he could be in a blueberry patch right now," Johnston said. "We’ll go with the happy ending but we may never know."

If the bear has survived, Johnston said the 60-pound mammal, which should be about 80 pounds given his age, still has plenty of time to fatten up on blue berries and raspberries before winter. The biggest problem for the bear is going without water for two weeks.

"The biggest thing is for him to get hydrated if he hasn’t been able to drink for the last two weeks That’s serious but I’m sure he can recover any weight that he’s lost," Johnston said.

The bear’s two-week ordeal from Hurkett to Lambert Island made received international attention. The bear’s story was featured in newspapers across the globe, and television and radio from CNN to CBC Radio’s As it Happens Wednesday.

MNR officials and the general public searched for the bear but couldn’t find him. Johnston said the plan was to get within 20 metres so they could tranquillize the bear and remove the jar. Because the bear could see shapes and movement through the opaque pickle jar, Johnston said it was tough to catch him.

The MNR also set up a trap but Johnston said they didn’t think it would catch him.

"It would have been difficult to sneak up on him to dart him," Johnston said. "And he never would’ve gone in a trap. We set one but we didn’t hold out much hope that he would go in it."

Johnston said he’s had to tranquillize deer to remove electrical boxes from their feet. The conservation officer also said he’s witnessed a deer with an arrow through its head and skunks stuck in jam jars. Until now he said he’s never spotted a bear with a jar stuck on its head.

Johnston said if people would’ve recycled the jar instead of throwing it in the dump, the event wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

"I think it could have been avoided," Johnston said. "It’s another really good reason to recycle…he got this on his head at the dump so if it’s in the dump it shouldn’t be there it should be recycled."

Although there was a claw mark in the jar, Johnston, who has seen bears tear apart plastic gas cans, said he’s surprised the bear couldn’t claw his way out of the flimsy pickle jar. He speculates the bear couldn’t find an edge for leverage.

Johnston added that he’s amazed the bear went for two weeks and travelled from Hurkett to Lambert Island with the jar on his head.

If the public sees a bear with a ring of fur missing from around his neck, then that's likely him, Johnston said.

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northernborn says:
Glad to hear that the bear has freed himself (probably lost so much weight that it practically fell off). However, the continuous comments about "had the jar been recycled this would never have happened", is starting to get on my nerves. I can't help but wonder if the Hurkett dump even has recycling services at all. We live in an unorganized township with an MNR run dump. The MNR does not give us a recycling option. This dump is located a very short distance from two other dumps that do have recycling (in organized townships), so the transportation would not be an issue. I do however recycle and bring it into the city once a week. Not everyone is able to do that. It makes me sick to go to the dump and see all the potentially recycleable materials there but the MNR whose mandate is to see that our forests are kept clean doesn't seem to see recycling as an option for their "own" dumps. Our tipping fees recently tripled with no improvements to service. It would have been a much easier pill to swallow if they at least offered a recycling option for that price.
So if animals are getting trapped in unrecylced jars maybe the MNR should be looking at their own practices.
7/22/2010 6:36:34 PM
Concerned says:
Hope they recycled the jar!
7/22/2010 10:05:32 PM
nitesky says:
Don't even get me started on recycling. We are never gonna save the planet by spending as much energy or MORE than we save by recycling. How far is the nearest plastics recyling centre? Not a collection centre but a place that actually reuses the plastic to make something else? Not near Hurkett I assure you. Not near Thunder Bay either.
7/23/2010 12:47:24 AM
tsb says:
We can't recycle jars that large. Only small neck type 1 and 2 bottles.
7/23/2010 4:41:54 AM
tsb says:
We can't recycle jars that big here. According to the calendar, only jars with small tops can be recycled. Besides, does anyone other than me find it absurd that a pickle jar has to be that big? How many pickles does one need?
7/23/2010 7:25:31 AM
hadenough says:
northernborn, I too find that the comments about recycling the jar over and over again somewhat annoying but for a different reason.
Even if that jar was #1 or #2 plastic (although it was likely something else) then Re-Cool would have refected it as it is a wide mouth plastic and they are not set up to handle it.
Now if it was glass...........
7/23/2010 8:31:38 AM
yer joking says:
Let's see Jimmy Hoffa, Amelia Erhardt,Waldo and the Bear, all Happpy Endings. Job well done.
7/23/2010 8:31:58 AM
Terrencelynne says:
Just a comment on the Poll results. If you had a jar stuck on your head wouldn't you want someone to give you a hand...we are after all the ones with the opposeable thumbs...
7/24/2010 2:15:30 AM
Terrencelynne says:
Even more important than the reuse and the REDUCE...plastic litters the earth...let's go GLASS..plastic is made of oil...we want to be independent from more plastic!!! Save your glass jars(eg.spaghetti sauce and picle jars) and reuse them...think canisters for dry good etc etc...say no to plastic!!!
7/24/2010 2:24:25 AM
Concerned says:
Hope they recycled the jar!
7/24/2010 1:15:01 PM
habsgirl says:
to tsb.....did you stop and think that perhaps the jar came from a restaurant? I run a small catering company and quite often purchase pickles and other items in jars this size!
7/24/2010 6:11:24 PM
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