The clear plastic container was removed from the cub’s head, where it had become lodged after the animal was digging through rubbish in a neighbourhood in central Florida.

Animal welfare experts say the cub was days away from death because the jar made it impossible to eat or drink. The team had to tranquillise the mother bear and then grab the cub to remove the jar from the bear’s head.

The subdued mother was then put in a trap and the cubs followed. After she awoke and nursed the cubs, the bears were moved to a less populated area nearby.

An ABC News report said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) enlisted the help of residents in the operation, which was triggered by a sighting of the cub with the jar.

It said the bears were regular visitors to the unsecured rubbish bins near the Weirsdale community in the Ocala National Forest.

Mike Orlando, biologist with the FWC, said: “It was a lot easier said than done. The residents were really great about calling us when they saw the bears, but it seemed like we were always about 20 minutes behind.”

The group set traps after two days but it was a further eight days before they could finally trap the family and subdue the mother.

(news source