***UPDATED WEDNESDAY 3PM
The two black bears that climbed to the top of a hydro pole near Sundown Manitoba early Wednesday morning have been safely returned to the ground.
Manitoba Hydro Spokesperson Bruce Owen explains that hydro crews, along with help from Sustainable Development, slowly approached the bears in a bucket truck. "The crew then waved “hot sticks” over the bears, gently coaxing them down where they scampered away."
The bears were reacquainted with the ground at around 2:00 PM, and the hydro-lines in the area, which had been temporarily disabled, were re-energized shortly after.
Residents of Sundown have had quite the show on Wednesday as two black bears made their way up a hydro pole and decided to take a nap.
Manitoba Hydro spokesperson Bruce Owen says one of their staff was making their way to work when he noticed the bears around 6:30am, just outside the community 45 minutes southeast of Steinbach. Owen says as of noon, the two small bears were seen comfortably sleeping at the top of the 66-kilovolt pole.
"Obviously, bears don't belong on the top of hydro poles," says Owen who notes they de-energized that section of the line to protect the bears from electrocution. He says residents of the area shouldn't be experiencing power outages as the local distribution line is still in service.
"We are hoping that the bears climb down on their own and amble off into the woods and go hibernate. How they ended up there? Who knows."
Owen figures something must have spooked the bears to climb up the pole but says crews are monitoring the area. He notes they have been in contact with Manitoba Sustainable Development and if the bears don't come down by later this afternoon, Owen explains they will likely tranquilize the bears and get them down safely.
Owen says they don't typically get a lot of wildlife that interferes with hydro lines. "The only wildlife is woodpeckers, sometimes beavers chewing on a tree next to a pole and knocking it down across the line, but really bears, no."