Manitoba

Black bears down safe after taking nap on hydro pole, beside high voltage line

Manitoba Hydro says a pair of black bears that scampered up a power pole and snoozed next to the high voltage line in southeastern Manitoba are back on the ground safe and sound.

Conservation officers waved long poles at bears to get them down

Manitoba Hydro says two black bears found napping next to a high-voltage line on top of a hydro pole near Sundown, Man. Wednesday are down safely. (Submitted by Manitoba Hydro)

Manitoba Hydro says a pair of black bears that scampered up a power pole and snoozed next to a high voltage line in southeastern Manitoba are back on the ground safe and sound.

A Manitoba Hydro employee spotted the bruins, near the small community of Sundown, while heading to work around 9 a.m. Wednesday.

They were sitting atop the highest cross beam of the pole, about 14 metres above the ground.

Crews de-energized a section of the 66,000-volt transmission line around the bears so they'd be safe up there, said Hydro spokesman Bruce Owen earlier in the day Wednesday.

"We're not sure why they climbed the pole. It's quite rare, especially in that neck of the woods of the province where it's traditionally farm country," he said, guessing the bears got scared at some point in the early morning and went up to find a safe escape.

Unfortunately, that was a poor choice. One zap from that line, when it was live, and the bears would have been done for.

We really want these bears to think, 'OK, maybe it's time to mosey on and hibernate somewhere else.- Bruce Owen

"We're hoping, hoping they come down on their own but at this point in time they appear quite comfortable," said Owen.

The bears didn't seem concerned but Hydro was, said Owen.

"We take great strides to protect wildlife through all our operations. And we really want these bears to think, 'OK, maybe it's time to mosey on and hibernate somewhere else.'"

In a tweet sent shortly before 2 p.m. Hydro said both bears had made it down safely.

"Definitely not a call our line workers go to every day," reads the tweet. "Let's hope these cubs learnt that hydro polls aren't the best place to snooze."

Owen says Manitoba Conservation officers ultimately coaxed the bears down by going up in a Hydro bucket truck and inched toward the bears while waving long poles in their direction.   

"Waving these poles were enough to wake the bears and they scampered down safely," said Owen. 

Manitoba Conservation officers convinced the bears to vacate the pole by waving long poles in their direction. (Submitted by Manitoba Hydro.)

About the Author

Darren Bernhardt

Reporter/Editor

Darren Bernhardt spent the first dozen years of his journalism career in newspapers, first at the Regina Leader-Post then the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. He has been with CBC Manitoba since 2009 and specializes in offbeat and local history stories and features. Story idea? Email: darren.bernhardt@cbc.ca

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