(Reuters) – A bear cub who failed to heed the lessons of Winnie the Pooh and got a cookie jar stuck on his head was recovering on Tuesday after being rescued from 40 feet up in a tree by New Jersey state environmental workers.
The 28-pound male cub was rummaging through garbage in a residential section of Ringwood in northwest New Jersey, when he discovered a container of animal crackers with some sweet leftovers inside and pushed his snout in for a snack, said Larry Ragonese, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
The bear got spooked when someone approached him and scooted up a tree, becoming wedged in the branches with the jar on his head, about 40 feet up.
Department biologist Kelcey Burguess climbed up after the cub and following a brief tussle, tranquilized him with a needle in his paw and carried him down.
“It’s only 28 pounds but it has claws and was unhappy,” said Ragonese, who said firefighters cut off the jar and workers dunked the dehydrated bear in a barrel of water to help revive him.
The cub is now recovering at an undisclosed animal rehabilitation center, where he will likely remain for up to six weeks before being released into the wild.
“Maybe someone should call him ‘Cookie’,” Ragonese said.
He urged residents of northwest New Jersey – where there are more black bears per square mile than anywhere else in the United States – to secure their garbage against the rummaging animals.
The cub, meanwhile, he said, has likely learned his own lesson.
“Like Winnie the Pooh said, ‘Don’t get a jar stuck on your head,'” Ragonese said.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Eric Beech)