A Wisconsin family out on a fishing trip successfully rescued a juvenile black bear that got its head stuck inside a plastic cheese puff container.
On June 27, Tricia and Brian Hurt, both 52 years old, were enjoying time with their son Brady on Marsh-Miller Lake, in Chippewa County, when they spotted the distressed animal.
The family later shared a video on Facebook documenting the daring rescue mission, which has since been viewed more than one million times.
In the clip, 26-year-old Brady steers the family’s small boat toward the bear while Brian reaches out toward the struggling animal.
“We’ve got a bear here,” Tricia says. “Poor thing’s got a tub on its head. Oh, he’s getting scared. Trying to figure out how we’re gonna get this tub off his head.”
The family hovers near the “baby” bear multiple times before being forced to circle back around and approach it again.
Finally, on the second close encounter with the bear, Brian gets a good enough grip on the jug to pry it from the creature’s head, setting it free.
“We saved our little bear!” Tricia exclaims. “Swim happy!”
Facebook users were quick to praise the Hurt family for their actions, but also took the video to task, slamming the pollution that made the rescue necessary in the first place.
“That was … heart-wrenching,” one user wrote. “People who litter are scum.”
“Great job!” said another. “Now a reminder to people that throw away these types of containers and the plastic 6 pack holders, cut them open so our fury and feathered friends can’t get stuck in them. In addition, make sure your trash is secured!”
The Hurt family told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that they were fortunate to happen upon the bear at the exact moment they did, as it appeared to be breathing heavily when they pulled the jug — which had begun filling with water — off its head.
“We honestly believe if we hadn’t run into that bear, it wouldn’t have made it to shore,” Tricia Hurt told the outlet. “It was so disoriented, it didn’t know where shore was and it was so tired.”
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