Black Bear #12-0990

May 25, 2012
July 27, 2012
Rescue Location
Shenandoah County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Failure to thrive
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On Thursday, May 24, homeowners in Shenandoah County found a yearling Black Bear in their backyard, unable to stand. They called the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and a conservation police officer was dispatched to capture the bear. The bear was admitted to the Wildlife Center the following day.

When Dr. Adam transferred the bear – a male –into a larger indoor enclosure at the Center, he noted that the bear was able to stand and walk — though the yearling appeared to be very thin and covered in ticks. Dr. Miranda and the veterinary team performed a full work-up on Saturday, May 26 while the bear was under anesthesia.   A physical exam, blood work, and radiographs were all performed. Blood work revealed that the bear was anemic and had low levels of protein in his blood. Despite the bear’s very thin condition, the blood work did not reveal that the bear was emaciated – though sometimes high levels of dehydration can affect the interpretation of the blood work. Radiographs did not reveal any fractures.

Dr. Miranda hydrated the bear with subcutaneous fluids and began removing as many ticks as she could while the bear was sedated.   Due to the bear’s age, Dr. Miranda did not feel comfortable housing the yearling in an indoor enclosure any longer, so the staff did a quick cleaning and rearranging of the Bear Pen. Black Bears #12-0189 and #12-0634 were enclosed in Bear Pen 2, while the staff cleaned Bear Pen 1 for the newest bear.

The rehabilitation staff are currently feeding the Black Bear a small, soft, digestible meal twice a day while the vet staff continues to monitor the bear’s status. The bear currently weighs 9.07 kgs — less than half the size of the Nelson County Black Bear yearling at release.

Patient Updates

Shenandoah County Black Bear yearling #12-0990 was successfully released — along with five other Black Bears — on July 27 in the western part of Augusta County. Click here for release photos and a video!

Black Bear #12-0990 and family are being introduced to two next-door neighbors today: Black Bear yearling #12-1665 and Black Bear cub #12-1755. The staff will monitor both bear pen cams remotely to ensure there are no altercations. The staff are also hopeful that some of the “natural bear behavior” of Black Bear #12-0990 and friends will rub off on the human-habituated bear #12-1755.

Given the large number of Black Bears currently residing in just two of the Center’s bear pens — the release date has been moved up. DGIF Black Bear Project Leader Jaime Sajecki will come to the Center on Friday, July 27, to pick up five bears for release: #12-0189 [female yearling], #12-0990 [male yearling], #12-0634 [male cub from Bedford], #12-1663 & #12-1664 [Chesapeake cubs]. All five bears will be released together in an area VDGIF determines has the appropriate amount of resources and habitat for the two yearlings and three cubs. The area will be as far as possible from human development and in a remote area inaccessible to the public by motorized vehicles.

The weekly bear pen cleaning turned into a bit of a game today — it was a race to clean the bear pens! Rehabilitation intern Zach cleaned Bear Pen 1 while preceptorship students Steve and Dustin cleaned Bear Pen 2. Turning a particularly dirty and tiresome task into a friendly competition seemed like a good idea, and Critter Cam watchers were able to watch the race. While Steve and Dustin seemed to be pulling ahead — they were already starting to lay down fresh hay while Zach was still hosing — Zach made a very speedy job of filling the bears’ water tub and adding logs and other enrichment objects. In the end … Zach won, and went to observe the other two guys finish setting up their bear pen.

After everything was clean again, the bears didn’t waste time coming out of the den and exploring their new furniture and toys. The students made “bear popsicles” — ideal for something for the bears to play with on a hot day.

All three bears appear to be doing very well. The Center staff should know more next week in regards to a potential release date for the bears.

 Bear popsicles:


Zach wins the bear pen clean-up race!

Catching up on Critter Cam action:

All three Black Bears have been doing well over the past couple of weeks — they spend their days eating, sleeping, and playing with the various “enrichment items” that the Center staff leave for them [most recently, a "watermelon party", compliments of the Charlottesville Whole Foods].

The male yearling, #12-0990 has been spotted on cam much more frequently than when the three bears were first introduced. While the female yearling and the cub are very tightly bonded at this point, the male yearling has also bonded with the other two, and has been seen playing with the young cub or just lounging around with the female yearling.

The Wildlife Center staff will need to coordinate release specifics with the DGIF bear biologist, but at this point, the plan is still a July release for all three bears.

While Black Bear yearling #12-0990 isn’t on cam quite as much as the other two bears, he has been spotted off and on — and on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 12, he was spotted hanging out and playing with the cub and other yearling.

Both Bear Pens were cleaned this afternoon — and the sliding door between Bear Pen 1 and Bear Pen 2 was opened. The female yearling and the cub from Bear Pen 2 wasted no time in exploring their enlarged area — and have spent a great deal of the past hour in their neighbor’s pen, eating food, playing with a watermelon, and already upsetting a water tub.

The Shenandoah Black Bear yearling hasn’t been seen on cam quite yet — the staff assume he is still in the den.

Black Bear yearling #12-0990 appears to be doing well — the yearling has made the transition from soft, simple foods to a more complex and rich Black Bear diet. He is eating well, and judging from the views on the Critter Cam, appears to be putting on weight.

At the recommendation of the DGIF Black Bear Project Leader as well as the former curator of the Appalachain Bear Rescue [in Tennessee], the male Black Bear yearling will be introduced to the other two Black Bears on Friday, June 8. Once the enclosures are cleaned, the sliding door between Bear Pen 1 and Bear Pen 2 will be opened. The bears may have a few squabbles at first, just to determine who the boss is — but all is expected to go well based on similiar introductions at other bear facilities. At this point, the female yearling and the bear cub have formed a close bond — and introducing a third party should not disturb that bond. The company of fellow bears should be quite beneficial to Black Bear #12-0990.

The staff will monitor the introduction closely.