THUNDER BAY – It was a busy evening for Thunder Bay Emergency First Responders. Thunder Bay Fire Rescue Platoon Chief John Kaplanis reports that “Just after 6:30 pm this evening, Thunder Bay Fire Rescue responded to a request by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to assist with the rescue of a black bear cub that was located approximately thirty-five feet up in a tree in the lane behind a Machar Avenue residence.
Thunder Bay Fire Rescue arrived on the scene with an aerial ladder truck that was positioned to perform a safe and successful rescue operation.
An MNRF bear technician who was already on the scene reported that the small bear cub would not come close enough for him to reach it with a sling pole device, which normally is used to secure a cable around an animal’s neck in order to capture it and keep it from clawing or biting rescuers.
The bear was clearly not afraid of heights and despite being less than a year old it had plenty of agility to assume a safe position high in the tree out of the reach of the OMNRF staff on scene.
TBFR firefighters with the assistance of Thunder Bay Police Service officers quickly developed a public safety plan which included keeping bystanders a safe distance back from the scene while rescue equipment was set up to try to capture the bear from the top of the tree.
Firefighters in an aerial ladder truck were able to secure the sling pole device around the small bear’s neck and then pull the bear into the safety of the aerial ladder basket where it was then lowered to the ground. On the ground, the MNRF bear technician took possession of the bear cub so that it could transfer the young bear to a cage for transfer to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
Kaplanis states that “TBFR wishes to thank all the responding agencies for their collaboration on this successful wildlife rescue!”
TBFR responded to this incident with a pumper rescue truck, an aerial ladder truck, and five firefighters.