Friday, May 29, 2015

Pa.'s 'bucket bear' finally gets head freed

The “bucket bear” of western Pennsylvania was finally freed with the help of a group of volunteers.

The black bear, whose plight in Perry Township, Clarion County, lasted perhaps six to eight weeks, had become the subject of a Facebook page, Save the Bucket Bear.

That helped inspire a rescue effort that began Monday. As seen on video shot by Samantha Eigenbrod, her boyfriend, Dean Hornberger, chased down the bear and tugged on the object – actually part of a tractor-trailer device – to no avail before the bear got away.

Several others joined the effort, managed to pile on the bear in a mudhole, and held the animal still while a hacksaw was used to crack open the container. The bear fled immediately. Assisting were Shawn Balcita, Eric Kribbel and Kaitlyn Lakin, according to PennLive.com, the website for the Harrisburg Patriot-News.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission denied online accusations that it did nothing.

"We received several calls over the course of the last month-and-a-half or so, and officers responded several times to sites where the bear had been spotted," said press secretary Travis Lau, according to PennLive.com. "But we were never able to get there before the bear had moved on. We set a trap, which was kind of a long shot given the bear's head was covered. That didn't work either."

The “bucket” was really the collar of a “maxi,” “one of the black air bags that provide cushioning between a tractor and its trailer,” according to PennLive. 

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com. Follow @petemucha on Twitter.

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