Black Bear #14-0142

March 7, 2014
July 15, 2014
Rescue Location
Rappahannock County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Found in backyard
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

During the week of March 3, homeowners in Rappahannock County spotted a small yearling hanging around in their yard. After seeing the bear for several days, the homeowners contacted the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. A DGIF officer came to the scene and baited a dog crate with food; the bear entered the crate and was successfully trapped. The DGIF officer transported the bear to the Center on March 7.

Upon arrival, Dr. Rich checked the yearling and noted that it was bright, alert, active, and in fair body condition. Because the bear ate a sizable meal during capture, the Wildlife Center team decided to hold off on the initial examination. On March 8, the team will be able to safely anesthetize bear #14-0142 for a complete examination, radiographs, and blood work.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this Black Bear …and to the 2,600 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year.

Patient Updates

On the morning of July 15, the Center’s veterinary staff and a VDGIF biologist prepared for the release of four yearling black bears - #14-0657, #14-0142, #14-0301, and #14-0364.

The veterinary team headed to the Black Bear Complex to dart the yearlings at about 9:15 a.m. Bears #14-0657 and #14-0301 were darted in trees; #14-0657 climbed down quickly after she was darted.    Bear #14-0301 proved to be more stubborn; the bear began to feel the effects of sedation while still in the tree, so Dr. Dave, Dr. Rich, and the VDGIF biologist stood at the base of the tree holding a sturdy blanket to catch the bear in case he fell. The bear slowly climbed down on his own. The bears were examined, weighed, and loaded into the DGIF transport trap.

Bear #14-0364 was also darted while in the crotch of a tree. Unlike the other two yearlings, this bear did not climb down the tree after he was darted. Anesthesia quickly took effect in this bear; the “catch team” was unable to get to the base of the tree in time. The bear fell approximately 30 feet from the tree.

The team carefully examined the bear once it was fully anesthetized and noted some abnormalities with the bear’s jaw. Bear #14-0364 was brought into the hospital for a thorough exam and radiographs to determine if the bear’s jaw was fractured during the fall. No obvious fractures were noted on radiographs, though it can be difficult to appreciate injuries in the skull region due to the density and overlap of numerous bones.

The veterinary staff was unable to close the bear’s mouth, which could indicate that there is a dislocation in the jaw that was not identified on radiographs. The bear was placed in the Center’s Large Mammal isolation facility. A camera was placed in the enclosure so staff can monitor the bear during the next few days.

Once it became clear that bear #14-0364 would not be released today, The Center’s new veterinary fellow, Dr. Helen Ingraham, successfully darted female bear #14-0142 without incident.

Bears #14-0657, 14-0142, and 14-0301 were healthy and in good body condition. Below are the yearlings’ weights:

Female Yearling #14-0657 – 21.8 kg.
Female Yearling #14-0142 – 19.5 kg.
Male Yearling #14-0301 – 32 kg.

The three bears will be released in the western half of Virginia.

Bear Yearling Release July 2014

The four Black Bear yearlings #14-0142, 301, 364, and 657 – have been doing well this spring at the Wildlife Center. The bears can often be seen via Critter Cam lounging in trees. The bears have visibly put on weight, and are in good condition.

Now that food is very plentiful and the berries are out, it’s time to release these four yearling bears. A biologist with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will pick up and release the bears on Tuesday, July 15.

Black Bears #14-0142 and #14-0184 were caught up today for a weigh-in and blood draw. Both were very feisty and appeared to be in good body condition. Black Bear #14-0142 weighed in at 14.3 kg; Black Bear #14-0184 was 10.1 kg. Both yearlings were moved to yard #2 of the Black Bear Complex.

Black Bear yearling #14-0142 remains bright, alert, and feisty and continues to show improvement. On March 12, the yearling was switched to a regular bear meal and she immediately went to her food bowl when returned to her enclosure. After the staff confirmed that the bear was eating well on her own and blood work showed improvements, the yearling was moved to the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation and joined Black Bear yearling #14-0126. The yearling has adjusted well to her new enclosure and roommate. The veterinary staff will continue to closely monitor the bear’s appetite and behavior over the following weeks.

On Saturday, March 8, Dr. Kristin anesthetized Black Bear yearling #14-0142 for a complete examination. Dr. Kristin found the bear to be thin and dehydrated, with no visible injuries. The female bear weighed in at 5.73 kg. Radiographs revealed no fractures, but did indicate some changes in the bear’s gastrointestinal tract – Dr. Kristin suspects that the bear’s intestinal system had slowed and was not moving food along as it should, due to a prolonged period of not eating. The bear was started on a highly digestible, nutritious “slurry” twice a day to avoid complications as she began eating again.

The feisty bear has been very bright throughout the weekend, and she is eating well. After several days of consistent eating, and after additional blood work is analyzed, the team hopes to move this bear outside to the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure later in the week.