Black Bear #17-0093

February 1, 2017
Rescue Location
Augusta County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Former Patient
Patient photo

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On February 1, a male Black Bear yearling was admitted to the Wildlife Center from Augusta County. A landowner saw the small bear and thought he was dragging one of his hind legs; a biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries responded and was able to easily capture the tiny yearling.

Dr. Peach, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, examined the bear when he arrived. Weighing in at just 3.8 kg, the bear is a fraction of the size and weight that a healthy yearling would be at this time of year. The bear had a body condition score of 0.5/5, and was severely dehydrated. No fractures or obvious injuries were found. Skin scrapings confirmed the presence of mange mites.

The bear received subcutaneous fluids and was placed in a zinger crate in the Center’s holding room. The next few days will be critical for the bear as food is reintroduced to his system. The veterinary team will start the bear on a "re-feeding protocol" – a very small portion of an easily digestible diet will be offered slowly. 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.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this bear … and to the 2,500 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year.

Patient Updates

After Black Bear yearling #17-0093 was moved to the Center’s Bear Pen, the rehabilitation staff noted that the bear was eating well. When rehabilitator Linda checked on the bear on Monday, February 20, she noted that the bear had not eaten. She checked the entire enclosure, and … no bear was present! All vet staff were quickly alerted, and multiple staff members carefully checked the enclosure again, as well as adjoining enclosures and surrounding structures; two people also did an entire perimeter check of the grounds.

The Bear Pens are a series of concrete block structures with metal grating on the roof — they are designed to contain adult injured black bears, or those with infectious diseases (like mange) since they can be thoroughly disinfected. In Bear Pen #2, the staff noted that one tiny section of the metal grating on the roof was cut, to allow for the addition of a sprinkler system. The small opening looks entirely too small for a bear yearling to get through — but at this point, the staff are guessing that the bear likely wriggled through that roof opening.

The team set two large live traps to see if they could catch the bear if he was still hanging out, but at this point, there has been no sign of him. While we had thought that the bear would remain at the Center until later this spring, the bear was already gaining weight, was bright, alert, and very feisty, and had spent considerable time in the wild.

Black Bear #17-0093 [White/Pink Tags] has been doing well; the bear is eating, gaining weight, and acting more and more feisty! On February 18, the bear was moved to the Center’s Bear Pen, where he has bear yearling neighbors, Yellow/Red Tags and Green/White Tags. In early March, the bear will receive a second treatment for mange; after the treatment, the three bears will be housed together, first in the Bear Pens, then in the Bear Complex.

Black Bear yearling #17-0093 continues to do well; the bear has been bright and alert, and on Sunday, the veterinary team added another word to the description of the bear’s attitude — feisty!

The bear has been eating his easily digestible diet well. During the weekend, the veterinarians began adding in baby food to start the slow transition onto regular foods.

Black Bear yearling #17-0093 made it through the night and ate about 75% of his small meal. Dr. Peach reported that he was quiet but alert; the bear does try to evade capture but can still be restrained easily. The bear received more subcutaneous fluids supplemented with iron.