Trapped Polar Bear Saved From Fishing Net on Alaskan Island

Image: Rescued polar bear
USGS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, with help from the local community of Kaktovik, successfully freed a large male polar bear that was entangled in a fishing net on a small barrier island in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska.U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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By Shamar Walters

U.S. scientists and local residents joined forces to free a 1,000-pound polar bear trapped in fishing net on a remote Arctic island on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The adult male was tangled up in the net on a barrier island off the coast of Alaska when the USGS and biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came to the rescue.

The USGS said the operation began with biologists tranquilizing the polar bear by "darting it" from a helicopter. That's when locals from the nearby community of Kaktovik provided critical support.

"Local residents, using boats, kept the bear from drowning while the tranquilizers took effect," the USGS said on Facebook.

"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.

"A great effort by all to keep this magnificent animal in the wild."