A large Alaskan polar bear trapped in a fishing net was saved after biologists and residents from the remote North Slope village of Kaktovik came to its rescue.
The male bear became entangled in the net near a Beaufort Sea barrier island Saturday
night, according to the Alaska Dispatch News
. The location is a regular spot for fishing camps where local residents reel in char and whitefish.
"There was much discussion about how (the town was) going to handle it," said Flora Rexford after the bear was discovered in the net originally set in hopes of capturing a beluga whale.
The U.S. Geological Survey biologists and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were recruited to lend a hand.
"How do you rescue a 1,000 pound polar bear trapped in a fishing net? You untangle it," said the U.S. Geological Survey on its Facebook page
. "Well, actually, it’s pretty complicated, especially when it's located in a remote Arctic location."
USGS officials said a biologist first tranquilized the bear with darts from a helicopter and then local residents in boats kept the bear from drowning while the tranquilizers took effect.
"Once the bear was sedated, the biologists worked to quickly untangle the bear from the net and after determining it appeared uninjured from its ordeal, released it back into the wild," said the USGS. "A great effort by all to keep this magnificent animal in the wild."
The USGS Facebook post has been liked more than 12,000 times and shared more than 4,600 more times since being posted Sunday.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started a polar bear recovery team in 2013 to assist with the conservation of the animal in the arctic, according to its website
. The team consists of members from the Alaska region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife, U. S. Geological Survey, the North Slope Borough in Barrow, Alaska, the Alaska Nanuug Commission, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Polar Bear International and the World Wildlife Fund.
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