Wildlife officers search for 'collared' bear in Cumberland Bay
Department of Natural Resources wants to assess distinctive ring around the animal's neck
Department of Natural Resources officials have set a trap in Cumberland Bay, hoping to catch a bear that has a distinctive ring around its neck.
The odd-looking animal was captured on home video, munching grass along Cox Point Road on Saturday.
Some area residents believe the mark may be a collar, or matted fur caused by a collar, suggesting the young bear may have been held in captivity.
Some have expressed concerns it won't survive the winter in the wild.
Department officials declined to comment on Wednesday.
It is illegal under the Fish and Wildlife Act to have any native animal in captivity without a special permit.
"I've never seen anything like it," said Graham Forbes, a wildlife ecologist with the University of New Brunswick.
He says the mark could be a piece of plastic wrapped around the bear's neck.
"If it's something other than that, a chain or some sort of belt or something, then it was probably put on by people, which would be troubling," he said.
Melanie Phillips, owner of the Highway Ten General Store, isn't convinced it's a collar.
"I would say it's got caught in some snare wire or something around its neck that it shouldn't have," said Phillips.
"I can't even tell for sure that that's a bear because there are some pretty wooly dogs," she said.
"I would have to see it with my own eyes to be convinced."