Black Bear #16-0304

Admitted
April 18, 2016
Released
June 16, 2016
Rescue Location
Charlotte County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Emaciated
Status
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On April 18, a male yearling Black Bear was admitted to the Wildlife Center. The skinny yearling had been seen in Charlotte County for about a week before it was able to be captured and transported to the Wildlife Center by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Drs. Helen and Dana examined the bear when he arrived. The yearling was very quiet, but alert and responsive. The bear was sedated and then anesthetized for his physical exam. Dr. Helen found the yearling bear to be extremely thin and dehydrated; she gave him a body condition score of 0.5/5. The bear weighed 8.25 kg – a stark contrast from the recently released yearling bears that averaged more than 60 kg.

No injuries were found, though the bear’s blood work revealed anemia and low levels protein. The bear was also extremely dirty; his fur was matted with fecal material, and he had several large, engorged ticks. Drs. Helen and Dana decided to quickly bathe the bear under anesthesia; they gave him a warm Dawn bath while he received fluids and medications.

The bear yearling was started on a re-feeding protocol – a very small portion of an easily digestible diet was offered. The team will need to balance the bear’s need for nutrition with the danger of offering too much nutrition too quickly. The bear’s condition is grave.

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Patient Updates

On Thursday, June 2, Dr. Helen and licensed veterinary technician Leigh-Ann darted Black Bear yearlings #16-0354 (Orange Tag) and #16-0304 for examinations. Both bears were in great body condition and were declared ready to move to the Black Bear Complex. Bear yearling #16-0304 was fitted with a Green Tag in his ear prior to the move. Orange Tag weighed 23.2 kg; Green Tag weighed 26.9 kg.

Orange Tag was the first to recover in the transition area of yard #2, and then didn’t waste time exploring the large, forested half-acre enclosure. Green Tag recovered and quickly joined him. Both male yearlings will share the enclosure with Black Bear yearling #16-0054 (known as Black Tag, though this bear no longer has an identification tag).

The Wildlife Center staff will be consulting with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries on an appropriate release time for these yearlings this summer.

Orange Tag in the bear complex:

Green Tag’s examination: 

During this past weekend, Black Bear yearling #16-0304 was transitioned onto a normal adult bear diet. The bear is doing well; he’s eating all of the food offered and has normal stool. As many Critter Cam viewers have noted, the bear appears to be stronger and is able to ambulate normally and climb in the bear pen enclosure. The staff will continue to feed the bear a normal bear diet and will also introduce various food enrichment activities.

Black Bear yearling #16-0304 continues the slow recovery from emaciation. Dr. Helen has been monitoring the yearling closely, and each day, the bear continues to appear weak, yet alert. On April 20, the bear’s zinger crate was moved to the Center’s Bear Pen; in the afternoon, the staff opened the door of the zinger crate to allow the bear to have full access to Bear Pen #3. The bear was seen slowly walking around and exploring the space.

On the morning of April 21, Dr. Helen prepared the bear’s morning meal and saw the bear walking around the pen. The bear is still weak but appears to be making gradual improvements. The yearling is fed twice a day and may be able to graduate to small amounts of soft fruits and veggies in a few days.