Bear Rescued From 20-Foot Tall Factory Ceiling in Virginia

by Robert Davis

State officials in western Virginia rescued a black bear trapped nearly 20 feet off of the ground in a Volvo manufacturing facility.

State wildlife officials used a “chemical immobilization dart” to knock out the bear before using the plant’s heavy machinery to help the bear out. Employees stayed in the plant’s cafeteria during the extraction.

“After assessing the situation, it was apparent to staff that given the location of the bear, odds were low that it would soon safely leave on its own,” the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) said in a Facebook post.

State biologists performed a physical health check on the bear before its release. According to state officials, the bear was then loaded onto a carrier and transported to a “suitable place for release.”

Bear Rescue and Sightings

Mid-to-late June is a prime time for bear sightings. After months of denning, species such as the infamous black bear are eager to build up their fat reserves in preparation for their next hibernation.

Because of this biological need, many outdoor enthusiasts are reporting increased bear activity in their neck of the woods.

For example, a homeowner in Pike County, Pennsylvania, captured a bear posing for her camera from a nearly 20-foot distance.

Similarly, a black bear made a startling appearance on Bonita Beach in Naples, Florida last week.

Even more recently, the U.S. Forest Service warned national park visitors to be vigilant of bears who attempt to steal backpacks. The reports came from four Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness trails inside the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina.

Across the country in Bryce, Utah, campers in the Iron Springs backcountry campsite reported encountering a black bear on four separate nights.

What Do I Do During an Encounter?

DWR says the first thing anyone should do during a bear encounter is to ensure the bear has a good escape route. This will come in handy if the bear gets spooked and decides to escape.

If given ample time, bears will try to escape on their own. It is best to give them as much time as is practical, DWR said.

State officials gave the bear at the Volvo plant ample time to remove itself from the property. However, according to DWR, the number of employees on-site during the workday necessitated the chemically-induced extraction.

Second, make sure all pets and other animals are out of the bear’s line of sight and smell. Black bears have poor eyesight, but very good senses of smell. It may not be able to see a housecat from 20 feet away, but it will pick up its scent.

Third, and most importantly, is to remain calm. The more predictable your behavior is, the more likely the bear will move on to better places.