A California game warden rescued a baby bear on Sunday night after it got locked inside a bear-proof bin. Warden Adam Smith arrived at a forest parking lot near Cogswell Dam, near Azusa, at about 11:30pm. "When I got there, the mother bear and one of the cubs were circling this big dumpster," Smith said.
A second bear cub had climbed inside the open dumpster and somehow the bear-proof lid slammed shut behind it, he said. "It latched so it couldn't push its way back out and the mother couldn't lift it up," he said. "There was no way it would have been able to get out on its own." The mother tried to claw at the lid, but could not get it open, Smith said.
The cub, which Smith estimated as younger than 1-year, only weighed 25-35 pounds, Smith said. "It could have turned deadly for that little guy," he said. Smith used his truck's lights and sirens to ward off the circling mother and cub, so he could open the latch for the second cub. The two bears retreated to a nearby tree. "When I initially approached the can, I could hear him crying insde." Smith said. "As soon as I backed off, he jumped out."
The bear climbed to the top of the dumpster with a piece of trash on his ear. It then spotted the mother bear and ran towards it, Smith said. "He was a happy, healthy little bear when he left," Smith said. "All three of them kind of trotted off into the darkness there." Smith warned guests using trash bins in the national forest to shut the lids to avoid causing similar problems. "That was the big lesson, is that people need to keep those lids closed," he said.