The Hurt family was returning to the jetty after a pleasant Saturday day of fishing on Lake Marsh-Miller in Chipewa County, Wisconsin, when they saw a weird figure floating in the lake.
Brady Hurt, 26, believed it was a rock until it moved. Brian Hurt, his father, claimed it was most likely a dog. But his mother, Tricia Hurt, 52, saw something much more strange.
“It’s not a dog. I believe that is a bear. “Yes, that’s a hungry bear with its head in a bucket,” Tricia Hurt told a local news source.
That’s exactly what happened. A juvenile black bear was battling to breathe as it swam across the lake with a plastic container attached to its head. Fortunately for that bear, the Hurt family arrived at the right place and right time to save the helpless plantigrade from imminent death.
Brady quickly steered his fishing boat while her husband Brian reached over the side, attempting to pull the bear out of the water.
Brian finally managed to free his head from the plastic container after circling the bear many times, and the animal took advantage of the chance to swim to shore and find cover.
When Brian Hurt removed the container from the bear’s head, he saw that the container had filled with water and that the animal was breathing rapidly.
“We truly feel that if we hadn’t discovered that bear, it would not have gotten it to shore.” “I was so bewildered and exhausted that I had no idea where I was,” Tricia Hurt explained.
Mrs. Hurt was able to capture the dramatic rescue and share it on social media, where the tale soon went viral, garnering over 12,000 replies and 2 million views.
The family decided to publish the footage after learning that the bear had been sighted several times in the previous three days and that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources had been looking for it with no success.
Scenes like this one, which depict the agony caused by plastic to animals, are already commonplace, whether on television or in magazines: the dead albatross with its stomach full with rubbish; the seal trapped on an abandoned fishing net; and now, this tiny bear who nearly died.
And, without a doubt, the qualities that make plastic a valuable material for humans, namely its durability and lightness, increase the risk it poses to wildlife.
Currently, this form of contamination affects about 700 species of marine creatures. Every year, over a million birds and 100,000 marine animals die as a result of all the plastics that end up in the ocean.