A biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has quite the tale to tell after inadvertently getting injected with a tranquilizer meant for a bear.
The 20-year veteran with the DWR was part of a team of seven visiting bear dens in the remote Book Cliffs in Eastern Utah as part of ongoing work to monitor the annual survival and reproduction rates of black bears.
After successfully darting one bear in a den under a large rock on a steep hillside, they loaded a second dart but it accidently discharged and hit the biologist in the hand.
“We acted on our training,” said Dax Mangus, DWR regional wildlife manager. “We noted the time of injection, the dosage received and then we started monitoring his condition. We knew we had only 15 to 20 minutes before he possibly lost consciousness, so we knew we had to act fast.”
Two team members accompanied the biologist to the top of the ridge where they could get cell service, call for help and have room for a helicopter to safely land. A medical crew flew him to the hospital where he received treatment overnight and was released to his family the next day.