PROVO, Utah — Whoops.
A Utah state wildlife researcher was recovering after accidentally becoming the target of an animal tranquilizer when a colleague had taken aim at a bear and missed.
The team had been tracking a family of black bears in the remote Book Cliffs region in the northeast of the state on Tuesday as part of a study on the animal’s reproductive and survival rates when the mishap occurred, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported.
After locating a mother and her cubs, the team attempted to tranquilize them in order to examine them, replace their radio collars and record details of the new cubs.
“We successfully darted the collared female and noticed one yearling bear also in the den with her,” Dax Magnus, the regional wildlife manager for the department said.added. “We loaded another dart and were ready to dart the yearling when the dart accidentally discharged and struck the biologist in his hand.”
As the biologist lost consciousness, several team members raced to the top of hill where they were able to pick up a faint cell phone signal and call for a medical helicopter to come to the rescue.
The wounded biologist, who managed to get to the top of the hill under his own power, was flown to Provo’s Utah Valley Regional Medical Center where he is expected to make a full recovery.
“He needs time to rest and recover,” a department spokesman said.