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Bear with garbage can lid around neck refuses to be helped, public’s help needed

ELY, MN — A bear in need of help is tip-toeing around the town of Ely, and is refusing attempts at being captured.

For months, a black bear has been seen wandering down the streets of Ely with a garbage can lid stuck around its neck.

“It’s just human nature in general to want to help it,” says Wildlife Rehaber Heather Flikke Griffith.

Animal experts say the bear’s life is not in danger at this time, but could be if the lid stays on for too long.

That’s why the Minnesota DNR and Griffith have been setting up traps to lure the bear in to help.

“We all had our fingers crossed that he would go in, and he actually did go in, but never set the trap,” says Griffith. “And so that’s when we knew we were going up against something. Yup, he’s very smart.”

Griffith says they’ve done so three separate times, but have been unsuccessful.

“Meat, donuts, fruit, veggies. He’s just not going for any of it,” says Griffith.

Animal experts say tranquilizing the bear, which was last spotted more than a week ago, would be too dangerous unless the animal is confined in a trap.

“Too much will kill him, and if he doesn’t get enough then he’ll be awake and harm himself or, in particular, humans trying to get the ring off of his neck,” Griffith says.

The bear is beginning to take on his own name within the Ely community.

“He’s a part of what’s going on here, so he should have a name, not just Garbage Can Bear,” says Griffith. “Somebody named it Ringo.”

If you spot Ringo, you’re asked to contact the Minnesota DNR.

Gamiel Hall

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