A black bear is seeing and breathing more clearly thanks to the steady hand of a Colorado bed-and-breakfast owner.
For at least a week, people reported seeing a 2-year-old bruin wandering around an area just south of Glenwood Springs with its head jammed inside a clear plastic cheese balls container, The Aspen Times reports.
“He was just a little bear with a big problem,” Jim Hawkins, owner of Four Mile Creek Bed and Breakfast, told the newspaper.
Hawkins, his wife and neighbors had spotted the bear on several occasions, but the animal always managed to scurry off before wildlife officers could arrive, he told local news station KUSA. Unless someone intervened, he said, the situation was a “total death sentence.”
So Hawkins took matters into his own hands when the animal turned up again Wednesday. Armed with a length of rope and gloves, he managed to lasso the bear around its midsection, the Times reports. After a rodeo-like tussle that left Hawkins with cuts and a wound requiring stitches, the bear scurried up a tree.
A local wildlife officer eventually arrived on scene, tranquilized the bear and cut its head free. The animal reportedly scampered off into the woods when it woke up, and authorities gave it a high chance of survival.
Hawkins told KUSA he hopes people will be more careful about the kind of garbage they leave out. In this case, negligence could have ended in tragedy.
As for his skills with a lasso, Hawkins humbly said, “I’m no cowboy.”