Conservation officer in B.C. gives bear CPR after tranquilizer

A quick-thinking conservation officer in northern B.C. used chest compressions to keep a bear alive when the animal stopped breathing after it was tranquilized.

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — A quick-thinking conservation officer in northern B.C. used chest compressions to keep a bear alive when the animal stopped breathing after it was tranquilized.

“I’ve never had to do it before in my 20-year career,” Gary Van Spengen, a conservation officer in Prince George, B.C., said Monday.

The female bear, which was six or seven years old, was in a tree in the city last week when it was tranquilized.

Van Spengen said the bear stopped breathing when it hit the ground.

He said the bear’s diaphragm may have stopped — sort of like when someone gets the wind knocked out of them.

“The only problem is, when you’re under tranquilizing drugs, it takes a little while for that diaphragm to start going again,” he said.

“So I just basically administered sort of bear artificial respiration until she revived in about 10 to 15 minutes to where she started breathing on her own.”

The bear was tranquilized as part of a program to collar five of the animals who are living close to the city, but haven’t become habituated to feeding out of garbage cans or off their fruit trees.

The collars will be used to track their movements in and out of the city throughout the year.

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