Black Bear #17-1298

June 5, 2017
September 7, 2017
Rescue Location
Shenandoah County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Former Patient
Patient photo

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On June 5, the Wildlife Center admitted an adult Black Bear from Shenandoah County, after the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries was able to successfully trap the bear. The bear had symptoms of mange — significant hair loss and thickened skin all over her body.

The female bear was quiet and alert on arrival; Dr. Ernesto was able to dart and anesthetize the bear for a physical exam. The bear was severely dehydrated and thin; skin scrapes confirmed mange mites. Blood was drawn for analysis, which indicated that the bear was anemic. She weighed in at 31.7 kg.

The bear was treated with an anti-parasitic and was set up in one of the Center’s Bear Pens. The staff will closely monitor the bear’s attitude and appetite in the coming weeks. Center veterinarians are working on a pilot research protocol on mange treatment; the team hopes that with this new medication, bears can be effectively treated for mange with fewer doses of medication.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide veterinary medical care to this bear … and all of the patients admitted in 2016. Please help!

Patient Updates

Last month, Dr. Peach and wildlife rehabilitator Brie went out in the field with a DGIF biologist to hang several trail cameras, hoping to catch images of Black Bear #17-1298 more than eight months post-release, and nearly one year after receiving a one-dose treatment for mange. The bear’s GPS collar indicated that the bear was active in a particular area, and helped establish the best area in which to hang several cameras.

After several camera checks, the team was rewarded with several images of this formerly mangy bear on June 15. The bear looks healthy and has a beautiful hair coat – no signs of mange!

Dr. Peach continues to study this new medication for mange treatment in Black Bears; her current study is focused on how long the drug works in a bear’s body and how long it stays in their system.

Black Bear #17-1298 has been doing well the past few weeks; her hair coat has fully grown back in, and the bear is in great body condition. On September 7, a biologist with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries came to the Center to pick up the bear for release. The bear weighed in at 54.5 kg.

Prior to loading, the bear was fitted with a GPS tracking collar, which will enable VDGIF biologists to monitor the movements of a recovered “mange bear”. The data that this bear provides will help biologists learn more about bear mange and recovery. The bear was released near where she was found earlier this summer.

On July 28, Dr. Peach darted and anesthetized Black Bear #17-1298 so that the bear could be moved to the Bear Complex. The darting went well and the bear was moved to yard #3; the bear’s hair coat continues to improve. The veterinary team will monitor the bear weekly until it’s time to release the bear back to the wild.

On July 12, Drs. Ernesto and Peach darted and sedated Black Bear #17-1298 for an exam and follow-up skin scrapings. The bear has been evaluated weekly since admission, though it’s been difficult for the vets to fully evaluate how much of the bear’s hair is growing back, since she tends to avoid people and retreat to her den area during evaluations. On physical exam, the veterinarians were pleasantly surprised to find that the bear’s fur and skin have improved significantly; at this point, there is only about 20% hair loss. Skin scrapings were negative for mange mites. The bear weighed in at 43.90 kg.

The bear was returned to her bear pen enclosure; the team will likely move the bear to the Center’s large Bear Complex once the complex has been cleaned and some repairs have been made.