Raton Dumpster Bear Escapes Narrow Encounter With Power Pole

By Karl Wehmhoener | kwehmhoener@kamr.com

Published 07/24 2013 12:35PM

Updated 07/24 2013 12:37PM

RATON -- A female bear that enjoys the dumpster behind the Sonic Drive-In is lucky to be alive today following a rescue from the top of a power pole.  

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish responded to a call Sunday evening by someone stating that a bear had been electrocuted. Upon officers arrived, they found the bear alive atop a power pole. 

Officers darted the bear, but as it fell asleep and began to fall, its collar from a previous capture caught on a large bolt.  A bucket truck crew from the Raton Public Service Department was able to free the bear from the bolt and lower the bear to the ground. The bear was fitted with its second ear tag and placed in a transport cage for relocation.  

"With such a huge available food source from Ratons dumpsters, I expect shell return pretty quickly," Officer Clint Henson said. 

The bear was caught in the same area July 16 and was fitted with a radio tracking collar in cooperation with New Mexico Highlands University to study her movements.  

Henson and other wildlife biologists estimate that 30 bears live in and around Raton, most of them sleeping through the days and raiding dumpsters at nights. 

The Department of Game and Fish had offered to buy $317,000 worth of bear-proof dumpsters for the city, but city officials turned it down.  

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