Bear cub flees into water, rescued by wildlife biologist

Oct. 4, 2013 at 6:36 PM
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CEDAR CITY, Utah, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Utah wildlife officials said a black bear cub had to be rescued from the water when it jumped off a boat while fleeing capture.

Kevin Bunnell, regional supervisor with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said campers in Face Canyon reported seeing a small black bear intruding on houseboats along Lake Powell during the last week of September, KUTV, Salt Lake City, reported Friday.

"We've never had bear problems at Lake Powell; so when we started getting the reports it was pretty surprising," Bunnell said. "Bears and Lake Powell don't go together."

The bear was believed to be less than a year old and its mother was likely injured or killed.

"In his mind, he's just looking for a way to survive," Bunnell said.

Wildlife Biologist Jason Nicholes of the department's Cedar City office and other officials visited the area Tuesday and a camper informed them the cub was currently on his boat.

Nicholes said he was able to shoot the cub with a tranquilizer dart.

"It was a successful hit," Nicholes said. "It was hit in the neck and it went up on the deck of the boat and then bailed into the water."

Nicholes said he feared the cub would not be able to swim under the influence of the tranquilizer, so he jumped into the water and held the animal afloat for about a minute until a boat was able to pull them aboard.

"I'm not the best swimmer," he said. "I don't think I did anything different that any of my co-workers would have done; just a cool experience to me."

Officials said the cub was relocated to a remote area in the southern part of the state and fitted with a tracking collar.

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